we were always hungry never full trying to nourish and the belly always slender when we traveled taking junk food and remembering the days when we'd queue up beside a fry pan next to arm-chair activists and queer girls who only flirted with girls but really slept with men whose last words were you need to read more books always hungry until we stopped tasting stopped chewing not knowing when to stop or pause or wipe our mouth or say excuse me after a burp or take a sip of water going back up the line for one more plate we were always hungry so that when she couldn't eat so thin and pale and peering through crusted lashes saying i can't oh no i can't not today will you bring me what you've made not this stuff you eat it so it can't go to waste please it will just be thrown away we can't help but pick up the beige tray start to chew the food that never seems to fail to make the whole ward smell more like sick like our appetite can't be turned like we were never fed properly like eating with our mouth will somehow feed her spirit.
and that week she first started to bleed without stopping when the fluid would leak and leak into her cranial cavity when she was diagnosed with meningitis that we distinctly thought was an incurable disease reserved only for unhygenic college kids when she developed bruises just from sitting when her blood would secretly gush just not where it could be seen we stopped bleeding entirely like a stone setting right next to jesus but unnoticed and neglected into silence we stopped bleeding as women bodies do as the moon waxes red as the tide becomes still as the night invites those that must drink blood to have it flow through them the font of life flowing only through a dying body but not through the surviving one when the blood carried revived love spilling out to all around her despite the stoicism and the denial and the queer lover brought home on holiday flowing just because it was impossible to stop all while her daughter's blood ran stiller and stiller perhaps in hopes that if it just stopped altogether it could hide from the feelings of chaos and lividity could stop time in its tracks from moving forward to the inevitable stopping of blood that could not be stopped because really it ran dry too dry to live that months after her blood and the vessel carrying it had been transformed to ash her daughter had to visit a doctor just to have her blood flow once more.
the man who saw her in new york said to us she is connected to god in heaven so she needn't fear and if you want i can do a special healing for her from afar but that will take $3000 and that's very expensive isn't it that we looked at her and told her the news and seriously considered withdrawing the $3000 from our money we were never to touch but $3000 is a bargain if it means her getting up and walking but she looks through bleary eyes in that way that says it's confirmed he's a quack and besides i'm ready to die because i cried through it all these months and i've made sure to tell you the important stuff and i know it will take you long to cry through it yourself because i had to cry through the same thing at age seven but you'll do alright let's practice now so we lie down on her sterile bed and curl up with our head right next to her hand and she comforts us even though she's the sick one stroking our hair and telling us stories through dreams we share as she falls into a bleeding-brain-induced slumber and we fall into a grief-induced one.
we sleep. we walk together, with a purple horizon warm at our backs. her hair is thick and long. she puts her arm through mine. she wears white shoes. i look at her face. she looks at mine. she nods forward and i see a bright reflection of yellow light in her eyes. i look forward. i see no light. she smiles. she's a pixie. she knows more than the rest of us, even though she has always played the part of the family dunce. i understand this at last. she nods.
i wake up.