I looked a dying woman in the eye

The curtains were drawn to block the bright light of day
A monitor drew lines toward numbers evaluating their arc
Daughters and husband sat, present yet absent, in far away corners
Stealing glances toward the thin, frail figure in the hospital bed

She stirred
Using her last ounces of strength
To find a position that would end her pain

Finding her hand through the cotton coverlet
I grasped it lightly and called her name
The name of a bird
The same bird who
At that moment
Just outside
With bright red breast
Was singing the arrival of new life

In her face I saw a hunger
Though the gnawing within was not for food
Her body
Shedding it’s ties to life
Had no desire to be sustained

Her eyes cried out
It’s me
I’m in here
Please don’t go away


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