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Poetry: The Woman

I am sitting in this room with a woman’s body. She has just died.

Her mouth is open and will not close.

Her eyes are open and will not close.

Her hands are cool but her chest is still warm.

I kneel by her bedside.

Her shoulders are small and bony, like mine.

Her hair is soft, softer than I expect, and white.

I pray for her safe passage, at least that.

Beyond that immediate journey, I wouldn’t know what to say.

I wait. The mortuary pick up is delayed.

I wait. I read the book in my bag, I meditate some, I open the windows and take a phone call.

I wait. The mortuary is still delayed.

Someone messages me on Instagram.

I open the app and read the message then start scrolling.

I stop on one short video, a baby being born by c-section. The doctors hold her little shoulders and just say, gently, over and over to each other, “Don’t pull… don’t pull… don’t pull. See how she comes on her own.”