Once again I was caring for my dying mother. She was small, shrunken as one would expect, even in a dream. Someone offered an ideal place in which to die. Large bedroom with picture window, view of a plain, edged by tall spruce trees. Maybe Wyoming or Washington state. A hospice room painted by Hopper. I returned to find her slid down towards the edge of the bed, her body stiffening, but not yet gone. Arranged her in a comfortable position, pulled up a blanket to warm her. Not the right view. Should've been tropical. Mango trees, umbrella ferns, heat, even mosquitos. Surrounded by the talk and the smell of a large family, neighbors too. Movement; cousins, nephews, nieces, family pig grunting in its earthen den under the house. The horse whose name I can't remember had slid into a depression in the soft earth under the fence. We pulled her sweating body back up. She looked around, eyes still wild. The colt and the sire, Lobito, looked too; colt sensing something wrong in the temperature, the arrangement of limbs, the sour scent, a general lack of response, and milk.
From my bookshelf
With all its eyes the creature
sees the open. Our eyes alone are
as if turned back, and placed all around,
like traps, encircling its free escape.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Eighth Elegy,” The Duino Elegies