at the grave’s portals.

for years, friday has been date night for my parents. each week they go to dinner and see a movie or attend a concert. this past friday, a nurse brought flowers into my mom’s room in acknowledgement of the ritual.

this morning i returned home for a few hours of sleep because the recliner at beacon place doesn’t encourage restful nights, my dad relieving me at my mom’s side as he has for each of the last sixteen mornings. after tucking myself in, i received a phone call asking me to return. he told me not to speed.

it had been less than an hour since i’d seen her but things had changed drastically. she was the color of untrodden snow, of milk, of ghosts. she died within five minutes of my arrival, at twelve sixteen, with the three of us holding her. after waiting for over a minute until her next breath, someone said, i think… and someone else didn’t let that sentence run to completion, interrupting, yeah. someone said, what do we do now? wondering if we need to contact a nurse, but also meaning, how do we continue living after this?

look, i don’t want to think about the present or talk about the future, so i’m going to go back to december, to a hospital room where i was looking up songs with my mother’s name in them. the problem is the majority portray her namesake as being bibulous and/or loose. i explained this to her and, as a sort of apology, added, love hurts. i then looked up the words to the nazareth song.

after finding them, prepared to sing, i lifted my head from the screen. she was already mouthing the lyrics and gesturing, fist pumping.

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