Anne HathawayThe bed we loved in was a spinning world of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seaswhere we would dive for pearls. My lover’s wordswere shooting stars which fell to earth as kisseson these lips; my body now a softer rhymeto his, now echo, assonance; his toucha verb dancing in the centre of a noun.Some nights, I dreamed he’d written me, the beda page beneath his writer’s hands. Romanceand drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,dribbling their prose. My living laughing love -I hold him in the casket of my widow’s headas he held me upon that next best bed.
Let my heiress have full rights,Live in my house, sing songs that I composed.Yet how slowly my strength ebbs,How the tortured breast craves air.The love of my friends, my enemies' rancorAnd the yellow roses in my bushy garden,And a lover's burning tendernessall thisI bestow upon you, messenger of dawn.Also the glory for which I was born,For which my star, like some whirlwind, soaredAnd now falls. Look, its fallingProphesies your power, love and inspiration.Preserving my generous bequest,You will live long and worthily.Thus it will be. You see, I am content,Be happy, but remember me.
Flowers, cold from the dew,And autumn's approaching breath,I pluck for the warm, luxuriant braids,Which haven't faded yet.In their nights, fragrantly resinous,Entwined with delightful mystery,They will breathe in her springlikeExtraordinary beauty.But in a whirlwind of sound and fire,From her shing head they will flutterAnd falland before herThey will die, faintly fragrant still.And, impelled by faithful longing,My obedient gaze will feast upon themWith a reverent hand,Love will gather their rotting remains.
On the morning of November 22nd, a Friday, it became clear the gap between living and dying was closing. Realizing that Aldous [Huxley] might not survive the day, Laura [Huxley's wife] sent a telegram to his son, Matthew, urging him to come at once. At ten in the morning, an almost inaudible Aldous asked for paper and scribbled "If I go" and then some directions about his will. It was his first admission that he might die ...Around noon he asked for a pad of paper and scribbledLSD-try itintermuscular100mmIn a letter circulated to Aldous's friends, Laura Huxley described what followed: 'You know very well the uneasiness in the medical mind about this drug. But no 'authority', not even an army of authorities, could have stopped me then. I went into Aldous's room with the vial of LSD and prepared a syringe. The doctor asked me if I wanted him to give the shot- maybe because he saw that my hands were trembling. His asking me that made me conscious of my hands, and I said, 'No, I must do this.'An hour later she gave Huxley a second 100mm. Then she began to talk, bending close to his ear, whispering, 'light and free you let go, darling; forward and up. You are going forward and up; you are going toward the light. Willingly and consciously you are going, willingly and consciously, and you are doing this beautifully — you are going toward the light — you are going toward a greater love … You are going toward Maria's [Huxley's first wife, who had died many years earlier] love with my love. You are going toward a greater love than you have ever known. You are going toward the best, the greatest love, and it is easy, it is so easy, and you are doing it so beautifully.'All struggle ceased. The breathing became slower and slower and slower until, 'like a piece of music just finishing so gently in sempre piu piano, dolcamente,' at twenty past five in the afternoon, Aldous Huxley died.
MY MOTHER GETS DRESSEDIt is impossible for my mother to do eventhe simplest things for herself anymoreso we do it together,get her dressed.I choose the clothes withoutzippers or buckles or straps,clothes that are simplebut elegant, and easy to get into.Otherwise, it's just like every other day.After bathing, getting dressed.The stockings go on first.This time, it's the new ones,the special ones with opaque black trianglesthat she's never worn before,bought just two weeks agoat her favorite department store.We start with the heavy, careful stuff of the right toesinto the stocking tipthen a smooth yank past the knob of her ankleand over her cool, smooth calfthen the other toecool ankle, smooth calfup the legsand the pantyhose is coaxed to her waist.You're doing great, Mom,I tell heras we ease her bodyagainst mine, rest her whole weight against meto slide her black dresswith the black empire collarover her headstruggle her fingers through the dark tunnel of the sleeve.I reach from the outsidedeep into the dark for her hand,grasp where I can't see for her touch.You've got to help me a little here, MomI tell herthen her fingertips touch mineand we work her fingers through the sleeve's mouthtogether, then we rest, her weight against mebefore threading the other fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, bicepand now over the head.I gentle the black dress over her breasts,thighs, bring her makeup to her,put some color on her skin.Green for her eyes.Coral for her lips.I get her black hat.She's ready for her company.I tell the two women in simple, elegant suitswaiting outside the bedroom, come in.They tell me, She's beautiful.Yes, she is, I tell them.I leave as they carefullyzip her intothe black body bag.Three days later,I dream a large, greensuitcase arrives.When I unzip it,my mother is inside.Her dress matchesher eyeshadow, which matchesthe suitcaseperfectly. She's wearingcoral lipstick."I'm here," she says, smiling delightedly, wavingand I wake up.Four days later, she comes homein a plastic black boxthat is heavier than it looks.In the middle of a meadow,I learn a nakedmore than naked.I learn a new way to hugas I tighten my fistaround her body,my hand filled with her ashesand the small stones of bones.I squeeze her tightthen open my handand release herinto the smallest, hottest sun,a dandelion screaming yellow at the sky.