Sometimes the crackers don’t do anything but remind you of how sick you really are. You chew them methodically, suck every last bit of salt from their crisp corners; swallow. It is hard to lie in bed all day. It makes the body ache with longing and inactivity. All the things you want to do float above your head like a billowing mobile, but no sweet music plays to accompany them. There is only the sound of your own slow breath, careful not to wake the thick dance of heave and pulse waiting in the back of your throat. You wonder if this is what it was like for your mother. The weekend she died, she was in bed the whole time. She said she felt a little under the weather. This wasn’t unusual. Your mother was sick all the time. Nobody expected it to be the last pull. Nobody expected this small seeming flutter to be the thing that finally did her long ravaged body in. These days, you count the years you’ve been ill on your fingers like a metronome. You wonder, when did it first visit her? Was she this young? You didn’t have time to talk about these things. You were only twenty one. You fought about money, and your father, and the raging notions of two women who carried the weight of everyone before them on their soft necks. You never tell your friends this version. How when you called her that weekend, you hadn’t spoken for two months prior. How now that it’s gone, you never talk about how broken this thing that means so much, really was. She said she felt a little under the weather, remember? And you said your I love yous, not knowing it was the last time. You try to push these thoughts from your head when you curl your body around your husband at night. You try not to think about your father, how his last word nine years later, was her name, gurgling in the back of his wilting throat. It is hard to make love when the taste of death is fresh in your ragged mouth. It is hard to run your hand over the smooth skin of the man you love without feeling the silk lining of his own coffin. You do not dare say it. You do not dare confess. It isn’t that you want to kill the things you love so dearly. You are just so afraid of losing them all the time.