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The Saffron Queen is a dream of blood now. She is garnet and green veins, though she wishes they were blue, strong and heroic like Princess Diana. She is needles and nose mucous, pretty in that blouse she bought for her trip to Puerto Rico, pink lace, denim and sandals she waits for the drip to be done so she can vape her troubles away.

The Garnet Queen’s hands are talons now, gripping, grasping, seeking prey to tear apart on the rocks of her teeth. This lady is no raptor seeking meat, she wants to kill the heart of you with her cruel, crushing words. And now she curls up like a baby and weeps, begging for love, sipping from her “Kwanzaa” cup, lost in a place she did not ask to be. She drifts off and the fear and the hate and the sorrow melt away.

She is Changeling, someone replaced her in the night with someone else, there is no other explanation for why she has gone. She is lost and believes she is alone, no one cares, even though her man strokes her hair and I press dressings to stop the bleed where she pulled out the IV.  She is Changeling, wondering why her children haven’t come, hating them and laying curses on them forever.

A cold front moves in over the ocean, rising thunderheads captured in steel gray and mango moments before the rain, a dramatic photograph she took that sits on the floor of her room instead of hanging proudly on someone’s wall. I like to remember my fierce potted plant friend as photographer lady, the unfinished woman wondering why her children never call, her man working so hard to please her. May her Kwanzaa cup brim with love tomorrow, may the grace of the Universe find her man and fill him with patience and strength, and I’ll not fail to remember the dachshund pillows next time.