Departure

April 2, 2008
By Sally Jo, Cambridge, MA

I remember thumb sucking
While listening to
The ragged wheezing
That wafted from the hole
Between my mother’s parted lips

She had already gone
But echoes of her breaths
Seemed too loud to be untrue
So I whispered my last words to her
Until I felt her body
No longer trembling

When silence filled the air
I gasped
For the sake
Of making noise

Her face was an evil grimace
The ugliest I had seen on her
I kneaded my blunt fingertips
Along the
Pinched eyebrows
Crooked nose
Stony lips
Trying to soften a face
That was like
A sheet of ice

I woke up
Cradled in my own arms
As I felt sleep
Leaving

I witnessed sky’s creation
A red glob of
Hot, fiery metal
Then saw
Mother,
Where she lay


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