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Our Lady of Perpetual Loss

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Maybe all losses before this one are practice:
maybe all grief that comes after her death seems tame.
I wish I knew how to make dying simple,
wish our mother’s last week were not constructed
of clear plastic tubing, IVs, oxygen hiss,
cough medicine, morphine patches, radiation tattoos,
the useless burn on her chest.
I’m still the incurable optimist, she whispers,
you’re still the eternal pessimist.
My sister sleeps on a sofa; our brother, exhausted,
rolls up in a blanket on the hard floor.
Curled in a rented white bed, our mother’s body
races to catch up with her driven, nomadic soul.
Those nights alone, foster care, empty beer bottles
taught us she was always already vanishing.


Deborah A. Miranda, “Our Lady of Perpetual Loss” from The Zen of La Llorona. Copyright © 2005 by Deborah A. Miranda. Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.
Source: The Zen of La Llorona (Salt Publishing, 2005)
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Our Lady of Perpetual Loss

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