Cassie is a certified teacher who has worked in education and mental health fields. She is also a skilled poet with an English degree.
It wouldn’t matter if they reached their latex hands
Down her throat and yanked out whatever’s left
She ends the same.
They smile as they stand there stiffly
Perfect white coats, almost pretending to care.
“We’ll medicate her and keep her comfortable.”
We’ll help her die.
She lives in a building on the rich side of town.
Visiting hours, greeted by nurses with fake smiles and clipboards.
Morphine happy victims and shops with
pink teddy bears and singing Hallmarks
Where a mother takes her 3-year-old and says,
“This will make grandma better.”
Kid doesn’t know there’s a room with Grandma’s name
in the morgue with the other empty bodies.
Black arrows on the ceiling won’t tell how to get there.
Emergency. X-ray. Surgery. ICU. Reserved.
For those who still have something.
I walk in the other direction to find her
Lying with those who have nothing.
I go to her room and wonder if she is as cold as she looks.
She is, but she doesn’t know. I know.
I reach out to touch her bony fingers.
5 icicles ready to snap.
I look through her eyes into the hollow body where
she used to live. Un-brushed hair, mangled nest of grey.
She doesn’t remember her hair
She used to call me “the girl.”
Now she doesn’t know the difference between
That little black bird outside her window
and me. Both of us are strangers.
Shallow breaths go on. She could choose no life
or she could choose to die.
I gave up searching that face and let the icicles slip away.
© 2020 Cassie Gildert