Her Spirit, a Small Bird with Color

In memory, Christine Wiebe 1954-2000

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.

About the Author

Ellen Kroeker

Ellen Kroeker (Tabor College 1972) was raised in the Mennonite Brethren tradition in Wichita, Kansas and is a member of the Southern Hills Mennonite Church in Topeka, Kansas. She has an M.A. in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincon and taught at the University of Kansas for nine years. She currently teaches English at Taupo Language School and Montana Tech. Her articles and poems have appeared in The Mennonite, The Christian Leader, permafrost, Alaska Quarterly Review, Not Man Apart, Explorations, Mikrokosmos, What Mennonites Are Thinking, Kansas Quarterly, and Blue Unicorn. She and her husband have traveled widely, and spent eight summers in an Inupiat village, Kaktovik, located in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The parents of two adult children, they currently live in New Zealand.