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The Place Where I Left You by Sandra Ann Winters

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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

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