And so she turned--

I kept her grunting and lost
In the guest bathroom
And soon the melody
Of her movements matched
The cacophony of the others
Shifting around outside.

How I longed
To open the door to see her.
But I knew she was no longer
The daughter I loved.

Yet a part of me wondered
If there was any bit of Ava left
In that shell.
If she was aware,
At some level,
Of what she had become.

Every night, I soothed her
With a song -- the same one
I sang to her when she was a baby,
Nestled in my arms.

She always stopped her shuffling
And listened. But tonight,
She quietened and cooed,
And for the first time,
She said, “Maa maa," slowly
And concisely as if she were
Struggling with vocal chords
Which were ripped beyond repair.

I could not help it.
I had to know.
Tears rolling down my face,
I placed my hand on the doorknob.

I took a deep breath and turned.