A bonfire’s extravagant
flap or the soft
orange ember, last
little campfire twig?


My archangel of slow
burn & ash — Will she
play Chopin in a time
warp where mothers never

die & everything’s flickering

taffeta, where everything’s
the northern lights? Hospice 
vigil, slow drip. Hands
toes & earlobes

like tip of damselfly. God

doesn’t speak, but the nurse
whispers, Hold her hand,
watch for rattled
breathing. Now is the time.

Get as close as you can to the tadpole

sheen of her eyes. End stage means
she is moonlight in a glass
of water. She’s an escapade —
21 again & she’s at the lake

lighting Roman candles, smoking

Chesterfields & chugging bottled
beer. Sorry, in a rush,
she whispers. In her smooth
blue sedan she drives away, sunlight

beaming off bumper & grille.