Pale as a Moonflower

Slow breath. Dark bulky sweatshirt, folds and creases rising and falling. Inside you are elsewhere. Floating where it's frayed. Trying to be where it doesn't matter, except it does. Electrodes taped to your chest and abdomen, I watch with the machines, count the depths of your breath. Most of the night I hold your hand, or rest my fingers by your arm. I never take my eyes off you, your closed eyes, the way you are distant and so very close. I understand the frailty; I wonder when a love of life will bloom like dawn across your consciousness. How did we come to this impasse, my love. How do we turn from it?

He is there, loving, bereaved, regretful, angry, guiding you through. Eventually he lies on the cold hospital floor, resting his aching body, while I keep watch. Unwavering my eyes never dimming. The love doesn't go out for an instant, not the whole night through, nor the next day as the watch continues. Unevenly breathing, heart rate fluctuating, I trace every motion on the monitor, its steady throb, the green cursive lines of your life on the screen.

You are a nexus of love to me, a fibrillation of love, your sweet and willful spirit. What pulled you to these depths, what despair swallowed you?

In the long, slow night I fill you with a radiance of healing. Strong warrior luminescence, but I see how the drug invades your mind, the way it overruns your brain like a parasite offering a light sparking like fool's gold, rendering you helpless. You lie prone, barely breathing, too nauseous to move, nearly insensate.

Do I count the minutes like prayer beads?

Each breath a gift, a reclamation of your stolen spirit.

Late the next day when you rise you are pale as a moonflower, slow and unsteady. How can I protect you from what claws at you from within?

When you are mesmerized by death how can I call you back from the underworld, dark realm of Hades?

Your lips are the colour of the narcissus Persephone plucked and followed like a red star into the gaping wound of the earth. You are too young and innocent for what has been thrust upon you.

You have gone with him now, and I pray you are both safe.

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