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By Elizabeth Sosaya
I want to know what she knew then,
on a morning in mid-August,
taking her time as if resisting her
entrance into life and the east
room reddened by the sun's first rays.
If we're born with presentiment
surely it's stored in a place
guarded and shut like a seed
closed in upon itself and opening
only when every atom knows it's time.
I know in the crib, she never
woke without a cry, would come
out of slumber in a caterwaul
of sorrow and later, age three or four,
would wander through the house
weeping out of her sleep.
Yet thinking back on the illness
she seemed calm, and I watched how,
as she viewed the x-ray,
she reached into her purse to apply
the lip protector as if this were nothing,
as if the spots up there on the screen,
her lungs in shades of black and white
meant nothing, as if she wasn't concerned,
as if she'd known all along that this time
would come and another on a late Sunday
night taking her leave.
She didn't say goodbye then.
We could have been strangers
watching her take her last breath,
so much like when she took that long
wet, inhalation before her first wail.
© Copyright 2004, Elizabeth Sosaya, All Rights Reserved
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Document last modified on: 03/06/2005