Anthony Dirk Ray

Birthday 2005

I went to a parade downtown
saw floats, saw tits, saw drunks
drove to my folk’s rental in spanish fort
my mom, taking tequila shots
my dad, working shift work at the mill
a great meal offered and ingested
a great day
I thought
“is it hot in here?” my mother asked
“not to me,” I replied
as I searched for drum and bass ringtones
for my new phone just purchased for me
“I’m having trouble breathing,” she said
time is of the essence I thought
I called 911
I put a leash on the dog
as my mother went to the back
to get dressed for the ambulance
she returned with fear in her eyes, asking
“when will they be here?”
at that time
I assume
realizing she had no heart beat
I was unaware of this at that point
looking back
I should have called again
but I was in complete denial and comforting her

I watched my mother die a fast death

to her
I’m sure it was slow
suffocating, turning purple, and scared
no breath to be had
despite trying

I said, “I love you.”
somehow between gasps of air
she was able to get out
“I love you too
tell your dad”
I said, “I know, save your breath.”
no heartbeat
no breath
no hope
no help
flailing and convulsing upon the floor
not a goddamn thing I could do
but stare in shock
where the fuck are the paramedics I thought
finally they arrived and began working on her
at the hospital questions were answered
blood pressure skyrocketed
heart stopped
and lungs slowly filled with fluid
my mother had drowned from within
the lungs drained
the heart revived
but consciousness had not returned
her brain had been without oxygen for about an hour
left in a vegetative state
we waited two weeks for a miracle
or at least
any sign of improvement
or life
kept alive by machines
that’s no life
that’s not life
the machines were switched off
and I watched my mother die
for the second time

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