Until the end, the brain does what it can to figure out 
the narrative unfolding for the body. And so, alternately, 
she whimpers and talks to presences, demands her money 
or jewels back, announces she is leaving for the country; 
cries out from what she calls her prison cell. This thing 
called dying, it can be an unpredictable process: more 
than a few weeks, or only a couple of days. Did hers begin 
when the people she lived with sold off her marble 
end tables, fleeced money from her dwindling accounts; 
turned off her access to light and water, locked her
in her room while they left to do whatever 
they called work? The tongues of shoes are tied up 
with laces. The lamps are muffled with shades. 
The space between the breast and the buttons 
of a shirt becomes a place for hiding morsels of bread. 
More muted refrains of cicadas leftover from summer 
scatter like husks on the ground. Every little point 
of radiance draws moths to their fate. 

They too glisten before they dwindle, taken by flame.

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