When my mother was dying, she was hooked up to an electrocardiogram to measure her heart’s journey.

I sat for hours watching her life’s story ebb and flow, a steady list of emotional measurements.

There is my victorious son, there my disappointing daughter. 

Here are my successes, there my failures.

And then the tale flatlined.

Now I am in the hospital room with you, watching the nurse set up your machine.

She whacks the side, frustrated by technology and its power.

I see lasered punctuation marks blip and bop all over the monitor:  question marks, commas, colons, exclamation points.

You are filled with enigma, plasma, and conundrum.

This is way too much passion and life for a single machine to measure or a solo heart to hold.

When the nurse leaves, satisfied with her skills, and you fall asleep, exhausted from your life, I remove the tentacles of the electrocardiogram off your body onto mine.

A single name, bold-faced and all in caps, scrolls straight across the screen.

What are my chances now, I wonder.

Copyright 2010

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