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          By DJ Gaskin

          The nurse, too
          pale, informs me
          my mother will likely
          not see morning. Bending

          over the bed
          that isn’t even hers, I study
          how the lines of a hard
          life have run rivers
          through her disguise. Standing

          vigil above her shuttered
          eyes, I search for a sign
          that she is still
          somehow alive
          under this rubble of science.

          At what point--I wonder--
          does one cease to live
          and begin to die? Who tells us
          the moment we’re out
          of time?

          Her mouth is still, her lips
          albescent. She breathes
          through a line of plastic tubing
          from her throat where freshly
          sliced. Intoxicating

          machines with skipping lights report
          she’s still alive, as if such
          illuminating brightness must
          be irrefutably right. I’m feeling

          as suspended as she, as
          if awaiting
          her blessing, permission
          to call it a night, to leave
          her to time-
          lessness, move
          on, reluctantly, to tend
          to my own luminance.

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Document last modified on: 09/25/2005

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