Web of Her Life

I was trying

on her heels

when mom said, "look,

she's awake,"

and she only took

a deep breath,

her eyes still closed.

I could see a curl

in her lip

as I held her

dry hand

to my cheek—

her daughters behind me.

A crescent ladle drained

any bitterness from our hearts,

as her breath became

the wind

we were moving

in resonance with.

The web of her life

touched mine—

vessels finally transferring

what mattered.

I painted her nails

three hours before

she died.

And I took each finger

separately, as one does a child

of the family, loving them

on their own terms.

Closest to her brain,

closest to her tumor,

her hands

would be the last of her

I held.

Well kept and pink,

I placed one

on her heart,

the other, to her side.

I left her

that night, clicking

in her shoes—

the final note

of her last breath.

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