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Mother's Day

Elbert Mcdonald, Sally RN

doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000351458.76778.ea

The dying woman's breath

clung to my skin.

Her breath went home on my clothes,

stayed with me as I greeted my family.

They couldn't smell it

but I could.

I showered it off

and opened Mother's Day cards.

She lay in the hospital bed,

breathing toward her husband.

He gathered these breaths, counting

them down to the resurrection.

Four per minute

Three per minute



He said, “No oxygen.”

“No Tylenol.”

“The Ativan.”


Clear eyes, low voice

awaiting the resurrection

Breath like a halo

around the bed.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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