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Great-Grandma's Death MAG
In a dark room
where four generations of women walked,
we unite again.
young and old and lovely all.
Lines in our faces harden to stone as we watch and wait.
The last of us breathes hard as the death rattle chimes in her chest,
toes stained like blueberries, drained.
Eyes rheumy but blue, they dance open again and forever.
The mothers stand strong and straight,
but I hold tight to the bed pole to stop my shakes, tears pooling along my lashes.
Heavy sweet smell of death is in my lungs,
so I run hard to rid my body of shivers,
climb the fig tree and drench in its dewy leaves.
In the room of past and present,
cloying sucrose blends with mountain musk.
Still living, we cry hot wet tears of silence together,
to soak and cleanse the ancient carpet.
I hold Great-Grandma’s hand,
her fingers dry as dirt in summer,
smelling of work and years and medicine and blood.
We are family,
the slender curve of her wrist in mine, the long sturdy fingers matched.
My sweat permeates her skin.
My breath fogs her teeth.
My heart beats for her and my tears wet her eyelids.
Death becomes her now.
I weep upon my fig sliced so thin and lick its saltiness;
I taste my own knowing.
I am grown now and the knowledge aches in my belly
as I walk away from the shadows of our mountain.