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The Brown Moth FREE TO VIEW

Dorie LaRue, PhD
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “After my mother’s death, I worked out my grief by writing poetry about her last days and our time together. I teach literature at LSUS.”

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2014;145(3):659. doi:10.1378/chest.13-0866
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Published online

When my mother was dying a mosquito
came to grace the hospital wall with its living.
My benign observing gave way to umbrage.
It seemed seditious, that one,
filled with luminous poison, its needle nose
poised like the needles in her arm.
So I killed it, and immediately I was sorry.
Its mess of legs and fluid refused to scrape off.
It radiated down the white wallpaper,
replaced a second of something I could not name.
I saw my littleness then. I saw me outside a play of patterns.
And emptiness everywhere.
(Always before, I’d take the cricket, the wasp
amidst the pained indulgence of the others
and release them into the ground of energy on the outside.)
My mother was a bag of bones and fluids,
clinging to the same white globe.
But we do not possess that either. Something
in the killing negated that position, that,
and the machines, the bottles, the hums,
that made me one of them.


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