Her flesh was paper
thin. Each vein on her speckled legs
glowed as if the moon
itself hung omnipresent overhead- as fragile as doomed autumn leaves.

My grandmother's sickbed rested flush against the floor
struggling, perhaps, to avoid that moonlight.

I never related to them-
sick bodies, as spent as withering hawthorns
clinging desperately to their springtime loveliness,
choked by winter's punishing hand.

My mother pulled my body against
her chest. "hug her," she instructed, "this will be you
one day." My eyes blackened to inkdrops
as I realized the startling truth of it.

We all end up in the fire
or else beyond the glow of the moon.