Last March I was diagnosed with mold illness and told I had to move out of my home and let go of all my possessions. I had been too fatigued to have friends and the only place to go was with my ex, so I did - myself, my car, my laptop and the clothes on my back. A few months later, still sick, I discovered I have homozygous A1298C MTHFR. I had so little to start with - little money, no energy, no people, no health insurance. It was painful to discover I still had so much to lose. The ex has been good, kind, patient, and understanding - a gift - and I believe I am on the way to healing and a healthy home because there is nothing else I can believe. But the last 5 months have been hard and often it has been a challenge to find a reason to live. I wrote this poem last night. it is sad and not particularly hopeful, but it made me feel better and so, although i don't generally share my poetry, i'm sharing it with you in case it makes you feel better, or not alone, or understood. ----- i cough the ashes of my ancestors. they swirl about and within me a charcoal cloud thick with abandonment, sick of abandonment. a black salve bandaged against me drawing out, drawing out, drawing out the last few remnants of Me. the remnants that didn't get left at the river the remnants uncaptioned by poetry or photo the remnants not draped with beautiful cloth or ornament the remnants not in the sprouting herb or rising bread the remnants disallowed the vision of wholeness the remnants not in the ashes of the last rebuilding or the one before or the one before or the one before or the one before or the one before there is an altar here made of meteorite. i have laid upon it. the lines of my palms drawn out by the black salve. fingernail marks cling to the old stone this altar that may well be the last of Me. i cough again and swallow. i furtively scan the sky for a phoenix, the ground for a diamond, surely there must be one of these amongst the ash. and then i quickly look away lest the power-that-is-not-me perceives my desire. i cough and disappear again, and reach for the tired hand that has promised kindness. a few wet tears wash trails in the ash, and I do the dishes.