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Airlift

me
Poetry, APCForum, March 2016, Vol. 18 No. 2
 
I sit on a couch;
hospital bed close – railings sharply cold.

I lean in with the asking.

Her reply;
simple,
raw,
stripped of modesty.

I take her in;
thinning hair,
unsteady breath,
gaunt face – lengthening as I watch.

She talks about fishing,
and floating on rivers,
and dogs.

I think of a boat on the Missouri,
and reeling in a trout,
and my father’s smile.

She keeps talking
never mentioning death or dying.

She says she wants to ride the airlift at the fair.
I do the math,
two months away – one month too long.

I feel a tear start to roll down my cheek.
She pretends not to notice.

Scott Wilson MDiv serves as a chaplain at Benton Hospice Services in Corvallis, OR. He may be contacted at scott.wilson@bentonhospice.org.