Long Dying

Refusal of food and water, the faltering of tone. Cold hands.
A waxing and waning pulse; long days of uninterrupted sleeping.

Throughout summer, we thought: any day now. The clock on the wall
would fix the hour. Then, inexplicably, a flicker would interrupt the sleeping.

Her face is tiny and the pink sheets voluminous. Horses sleep standing
in their stalls. For two days straight she keeps her eyes open, not sleeping.

Her hands are encased in cotton socks. The nails she used to buff, file
to points, and polish now only want to scratch. The body is never sleeping.

Capricorn knees, Capricorn joints. Once, her feet were never shod in flats.
Shapely calves, impeccable seams. Afternoons were not for sleeping.

It is fall again, and we think: any day now. The leaves of the fig 
are curling inward. She makes a shape like an S when sleeping. 

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