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by Spiel

sunday morn
Darlene pulls back
Fern’s bedcovers
reports her ankles
have blued and swollen

she leaves me alone with Fern
my hand gripping
her barely pulsing right wrist
that I have held
almost constantly
since thursday night

I grasp her white hair
stretch it firm
against her pillow
promise her softly
my siblings and I
are plenty old enough
to care for our selves

she need no longer worry
for our welfare 
we will deliver her ashes
where we took Amos’s
down on the Platte River
where he used to ride his bike
to find peace from her pain

and in that moment
following these hard nights and days
of coma and incessant
incoherent jumbled mumbling
I feel/see her depart willingly
upward and to her right
where my hand grips her hair

so absolutely white
like new snow
viewed through sunlight         .



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