My whole body’s a hand up inside the hole of some lacquered clock reaching.
What word or other have you now Anne’s in her tracks stopped—
what more than “slow up for me, hey.” “Ta ta” goes
the rivulet that runs inside, inside this hospital partition.
You are indoors though her hand is colding. It is the South
though she’s of northern lights, of rivulets, of yellow flight,
of gases of light at some odd 40,000 degrees, say.
Do’t — pile her yellow dresses at the foot of her bed!
Already her room’s of light beams—whoosh—
whilst her shale grimace (catty-corner mine) stays.
My face, it cannot want to be kind.
A nurse in bouncy shoes verifies “this is no catnap” and
“what’s worse” and “as you please” and “moreover.”
The partition. And curtain. A fluorescent strip casts her.
Like Anne’s merely ‘gainst a screen thrown, though I
her chin cup in one hand, in the other tender spine.
For she was old—pant-
on-steps-old Anne mumbled once (the earpiece
not to her ear) as she always did: “Such as it is . . . .”
Gingerly, gingerly up in arms, into her a tiny blow.
©2003 Carolyn Hembree