A Living Will
Winters, Sandra Ann
I remember whiteness, twice-bleached;
tubes, long coils of translucent snakes
distorting lips, hissing air to lungs. I remember
monitors, dissonant bells, tolling heartbeats;
lights, vulgar, graying complexions chalky-white.
My mother says, How could you want this,
letting machines keep him alive? He wanted
A Living Will, got too busy.
But the respirator may give him time for his heart to heal.
Time for him to come back to us, I say to no one.
I remember a day in May, my white-haired father found
the fawn on the path to the lake. He carried it
in his arms back to the house, laid it with a whisper
on an old blue quilt. He spread the jaw with quiet hands,
put human lips to the tiny cavity of pinkness, sighed
measured breaths. Aged hands pressed, scarcely a touch,
not to crack young ribs. He breathed again and again,
the fawn, already dead.
What do you remember, Mother, of what he wanted?
Copyright © Sandra Ann Winters 2014