spent flower

deadheading rhododendrons again before twilight, a tumbler of wine in one hand.

the scent of smoking hickory chips and salmon discovers me in the back garden. my husband tends to the embers, bakes the cubed, oiled and spiced potatoes, and steams asparagus spears for our eager mouths.

i hear a faint sound like a seal barking in a harbor. is it the blonde redhead playing on the stereo? is it our son?

michael calls to me with subdued urgency, "here it is, here it is." i know what it is: a fit. a tonic-clonic. a grand mal.

across the yard i dash, sloshing wine from a glass held steady as i can. i've done this before a number of times, perhaps every summer; every night of this life, listening for fits.

as i near my son's room i hear him seizing. i reach him, his body rhythmically clenching. i drip lavender oil on his pillow and toes. the seizure begins to slow.

his cheeks are pale and blotchy like fading petals. his limbs are limp like wilting stems. his childish vibrance has withered like shriveled blossoms.

everything about him is like a spent flower.

Calvin coming out of a seizure, 2013

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