Even now, at what we believe is near the end, my mother is
what kids today might describe as #fighting,  A month in the hospital
and she's rallied and flailed, flailed and rallied. Through intravenous
feeding, oxygen delivery, antibiotics, everything short of TPN. Who
is Patty? my cousin and the nurses ask. My mother has been calling 
the names of the dead, names of the living, names of all the remembered 
ghosts in her life. Perhaps more than death or dying, the ghost of our own 
approaching absence is the most difficult piece of the puzzle. She still 
knows the difference between the clothed and naked body, how the taste 
and texture of water on the tongue disappears like a stolen jewel. Once, 
she fashioned for me an ugly name in a second baptism meant to confuse 
and repel the gods. She embroidered it on towels and the inside 
of my collars as she mouthed it like a spell. Sometimes, I still start 
at my shadow on the wall, blue and sick from being shorn from light. 

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