May 1, 2012

Artifact

Written by Frannie Lindsay

Read by Brian Simoneau

1.
You came to put up with
the buxom peonies
Helga kept bringing.
First you asked them to stop
the prednisone, next the valium,
finally you waved away
even the laxatives
your bowel had so long given over to.
The white nun of morphine
tended you prayerlessly,
while all I could do
was spoon-feed you fewer
ice chips, tuck
the last gorgeous medicines
under your tongue.

2.
After they come and take you,
the day is simple: the shade being raised,
room emptied, conversational
tones of voice in the hallway,
bathroom scrubbed echo-clean,
sky uninhabitably blue, no birds
moving across it, then one, then many,
while even the hospice Monday
grows busy with sheet-changing,
jokes getting told, time in the throes
of being ignored,
therapy dogs and friends
settling in for an hour or two,
hoping they’ll know
when to go.

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