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Red Foods

Lift me up, Severn, for I am dying. Do not be afraid.

are good for us: beets, raspberries, tomatoes. Watermelon.
Is this supposed to remind us of the blood and water of our
beginning? Or of our end?

Face down in a mess of noise, and light, and hair, I don’t
like it. I bawl. The furball of memory and regret not yet stuck
in my throat, unable to go up or down, I am an unplanted seed,
all hope and striving. Later for angioplasty, ramipril, and tasteless
cereal. Kashi Go Lean. My ataxia is normal. Little limbs,
little hands, fat cheeks, fat thighs: adorable. 

Holy Mary, Mother of God, be with us now and at the hour
of our departing. Margaret departs this life—she could
get down no food, red or white, no water, just Diet Coke,
in the last days. In a welter of pisspure fear, “Who is assigned to me?”
her last question. I am, Margaret, I am. But you don’t know me.

This poem appeared in the February 16, 2012 edition of the magazine.