The Dying Garden
I kissed your cold skull when your heart stopped. It felt empty.
I was lost in a room of my own blood, and
then I saw your other daughter, curled into herself on
a plastic chair, shaking from cold grief. How could you leave
someone so small? I remember red. The chemicals
within me stirred and electrified my skeleton.
I wanted to guard my sister’s heart with my own skin. I reached out
and she winced, turned away from my heat, kept her legs
tucked in and her head between her knees, and I was
even more lost in solitude. Do you already know this?
Were you still in the room when your brothers’ faces grew
white? The air thinned when the hospital machines gave long,
solid, finite flatline rings. You couldn’t have been there after that.
I hope you know that your mother looked relieved. She had shared
your cancer like it was her own. Flowers grew in our lungs for you
and although they were beautiful, we could not breathe.