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she comes to me this night

dressed as a young woman

the image of a protector, past.

i can see through her disguise

beyond the rightly painted smile

the powdered cheeks,

her perfume.

go away! i whisper,

you cannot be

yet i wish her close

as my own shallow breath that hovers now about me.

to hold her tightly within these withered arms

as I did as a child

close to my dying heart.

”oh youth” why did you take leave of me?

why did you not take this, my mind also?

she leans down, her hair black as the raven’s wing,

touching my face.

her eyes once green i remember.

how can this be, that they now glow red

like brimstones?

it is not my protector who lies waiting,

still, for me on yonder hill.

who embraces me now-

an angel she surely was,

but not an angel that now touches me

with unfeeling hands,

only now the angel of death

my last breath leaves me

she holds me and guides me

she is no longer my angel of death

she transforms with my last breath

she is mom and my protector once again