Her Spirit, a Small Bird with Color

by Ellen Kroeker

She turns fiercely to her right,

Curling to the lost comfort of sleep or rest. She searches

For the childhood position,

Its sweet familiarity, even

As her breath becomes ragged.

Demerol dims the pain yet she moans.

Here lies my friend after a life

Of doctors and medicines

And dismal diagnoses. Here sister

Leans over her, stroking her hair,

Kissing her cheek. For her sister,

She rests, her breath smooth to a matched

Rhythm. The room becomes spacious.

She opens her eyes and smiles

Such a radiance, much like

The flash of a scarlet tanager

Or a goldfinch in a darkening

Woods. She knows this is

Happening. She curls herself

Into our hearts' nests and then,

Like a bird off a branch,

She springs forth.

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