A Long Kiss Goodbye

To quell fear, I whisper, “Ti amo.”

Those words that mean I love you dashed about like snowflakes

—crystal, in places, aqua in others—

yet with the same meaning, no matter the tongue.

Not sleep, but anesthetic.

Not death, but The Long Kiss Goodnight

playing endlessly around in my head.

The slouch of grey hair and leather-worn skin,

tough as her spirit. Consistent. Determined.

“Mommy?” Caitlin asks. “Are we going to die?”

Samantha turns, smiles.

“No, baby,” she says, all confidence. “They are.”

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