My girlfriend, telling of her mother’s
last moments, describes the gaunt
frame they prop on pillows in the living
room, windows they slide open to a view
of mountains behind a curtain of gold leaves.
The cancer has chiseled her features close
to bone, but still she struggles to listen.
Hearing is one of the last senses to go;
and so they shush the relatives
that have come to start chants of ritual
mourning at her side. A son-in-law
slides a bow across a halting serenade
of viola strings. Grandchildren whisper
in her ear, urging her to the crossing.
And at the end, my friend swears
there is a split-second glimpse of wisping
breath— leaving the white-throated body
behind, slight tear like a wing in the air.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.