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.