Before she Leaves

Mom. I’m here.
What are you doing?
Trying to get up.
Because I’m going home.
Not today mom. You have to stay here. Tell me what you did today?
We visited the neighbors.
And that Spanish man. Did he tell you about dinner?
He is having dinner with dad.
We have to get home because he has all that food and dad has to eat dinner with him.
Your shoes aren’t slippery?
Why are mine so slippery?
I think I need my tennis shoes.
Are you here to take me home?
I need to stand up.
What do you need?
My tennis shoes.
Do you want some chocolate?
You have brown stuff all around your eyes. You have to get that off or it’s debris.
That Spanish man is coming.
That shit.
He better not steal the phone.
Have you been talking to dad?
I need to go in there.
Your skin is peeling off your chin.
Look how dirty my nails are. How did I get so dirty?
What year is it?
It’s 1927.
We have to get home to have dinner with dad and the Spanish man.
Last night when that little dark girl came in she told me I had to take the pills. She was your friend from when you were little and I told her she should find her mother and what are you doing out here all by yourself?
What are you trying to do?
I have to clean my hands, look how dirty my nails are.
I just cleaned your hands. They are clean now.
When I tried to get the pills in my mouth they kept falling out of my hand. And the little dark girl said it was candy and I shouldn’t eat them.
I can’t tell what’s really happening.
I think they keep driving me around. Is that real?
Yes. Do you know where you are now?
No. I think I am going home now?
They drove you to the hospital. You’re at the hospital. See? Look around. The hospital is a safe place. When you think you are having a bad dream, look around and remember you are in the hospital. It’s a safe place.
No. But I’m going home now?
Who was that friend I visited? Remember her? We watched that movie about wrestling.
You had a roommate at the rehab facility. Did you watch TV with her?
No. It wasn’t her.
I just have to get this cast off.
I keep having really bad dreams and I don’t know what’s real?
Is the little dark girl real?
No. That was a bad dream.
Are you feeling sleepy?
Yes. I can’t keep my eyes open and need to lie down.
You are lying down. Just go to sleep now. We will come back to see you soon.
And then I can go home?

The little dark girl and the Spanish man and the tennis shoes… stories and words woven deep into cells of lost memories rising in the vapor of hope clinging to life and inhaled in my breath to poison my heart.

Mother is leaving
And she doesn’t know
We are crying
And we don’t know
Will she forget
Our names and faces
And home
Before she leaves



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