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Jeez mate, you are really dead. “Really fucking dead,” as you would say. I don’t need to be a doctor to know that. The cop who rang me was right. You must have been sitting in your lounge chair, dead, for at least twelve hours, maybe more. Looks like you were enjoying a quiet drink when you checked out.
I’ve got to tell you mate, it’s pretty weird sitting here at
This openness into
This brightness onto
This bodied and
This shutter stop
Your round soft
beneath a feeble
“not quite ready”
to take you
even though you
and Trixie your cat
had walked the dark
“He’s just expired,” said the nurse as I approached Ray’s room in the large inner-city hospital where I work as a patient advocate. “And his wife has just arrived. Why don’t you go in?”
I found Natalie bent over Ray’s body. His hollow cheek was drenched with her tears.
“I’m so sor–“
“I told him yesterday to talk to Jesus,” Natalie interrupted, speaking quickly. “I told him if the
White coat, sterile gloves
my instrument dangling
but she finally died
after such a struggle–the young
always struggle so–
I listened to her chest
till it stopped then clicked
off the machine.
It sighed for us all as the air
drained out. And the moon
was still low in the sky
so large, so round–this
is a shape I know well–
One cold February morning during my third year of medical school, I walked through the entrance of the rural hospital where I was doing a nine-month rotation, and made my way to the nurses’ station. Feeling the warmth return to my face, I set down my coat and bag and hung my stethoscope around my neck.
The charge nurse, Barb, waved me to her computer.
“Kristie, you have a patient.”
As I stand beside the bed in Mr. Jerome’s living room, his pit bull puppy sniffs the body bag lying on a stretcher nearby. His cat curls up on the bedside shelf.
“That dog gonna be a problem?” asks Jude, one of the crematory guys.
“She might get underfoot,” says the neighbor, whose name I can’t remember. “But she’s a lover, not a fighter.”
Jude and Chuck are here to
Day 1: For over thirty-five years my strong, spirited spouse, Carlo, served around the world in the Air Force. Now retired from the military, he still serves at the air base as a civilian security police officer.
His neck hurts. A lot. He blames the pain on the unbalanced weight of the bulletproof vest that Uncle Sam added last year to the uniform he proudly wears every day.
I was not with my mother when she died, her heart bursting
against her ribs, screaming for a violent release from her chest
I listened, ear to phone: nothing-more-could-be-done
I recall her now, prayer petals of morning’s first red rose, the perfect
Mezzo-soprano of a summer evening’s lullaby, an open window to song
I had been in London on business all of seven hours when my son, Tom, called me at two in the morning from our hometown, Sydney, Australia.
“Grandma’s had a fall. She’s been taken to the hospital, but she’s all right.”
My mother’s having a fall was nothing unusual; she had always been an unpredictable fainter. My husband and children and I called it her party trick, making light of it to soothe
Amy Eileen Hiscock
I cannot take my eyes from his face.
It has been destroyed in the wreck, along with the rest of his body. His head is misshapen, bloodied. Someone has tried to staple together one of the larger lacerations–extending diagonally across his face and under his chin–but there was little point. They gave up partway through.
I have never seen a dead body. I am twenty-five and in the second of five terms