Correspondences I It’s Easter; he shivers beneath blankets, Chilled by his decline and longevity.

Pale arms are smooth as if shaved; gnarled knuckles Clutch the covers close. Three watch with pity. They question and tell stories to replace Phantom voices that pain, torment, deride. At times his eyes see clear and the faces Prompt mumbles. Child, grandchild, and great-grandchild Watch close. Granddaughter and cankered mother Search for life when eyes sink deep and hollow. More talk sparks awareness of another, Now forsaken past. Later comes shallow Breaths from wracked lungs. The eyes quietly close So he cannot torture, rise or repose. II Your loved Mother is dying in our home. Leaving her bed, she walks entranced and sits Before the fire, found alone in transit— Yellow blue flames flare—no longer to roam. Led to her room, she climbs stairs, hefts legs. Unaware she treads back up to her bed; We pull her feet forward, move them muffled. One foot, the other shuffles slow through dregs. Pillows prop her, pumpkin pie, sweet whipped cream For sustenance; awareness and thoughts wane. Change diapers, moisten lips to ward off pain; Warming tears, lasting love, fading lost dreams. In the living room, we gaze through windows; Death rattle startles, then entropy grows. Bradley Bleck bradb@spokanefalls.edu

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