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Poem of the Week by Jane Sadowsky

By Jane Sadowsky

Is this how you’re supposed to find out your father has died?

Driving sixty in a forty-five, a cell phone pressed to your ear?

I’d only gone home to change,

but a lightness invaded my being,

relief filled my bones,

and, suddenly, there was time till forever.

And I turned like a sunflower to the sun.

Now Mom’s voice in the static,

“Prepare yourself.

He’s already gone.”

You timed your exit,

letting go just as Mom lit the candle

at the feet of St. Peregrine,

snuffed the taper in the sand.

Back here in your room, you are silent now, and still.

No more needs.

No more requests.

No more pain.

When we hug you, your neck feels warm.

The nurse brings in muffins and tea – incongruous,

but a life raft for the drowning,

and soon we are seated together, sharing stories of you.

We pack up, one final time,

the detritus of three weeks together in this place,

my vases, your paintings, our photos, our books.

A woman stops us, smiling, as we carry our burdens to the car,

says we look like we are moving out.

She wants to hear a story of miracles, of healing.

I think that’s what I’m telling her,

but she can’t seem to say “I’m sorry” enough.

Loss has no top or bottom, only depth, long fathoms deep.

When this living space has been emptied of all but your shell,

and we move on out into the light,

I slip back into your room, alone.

“Morning, Poppy,” I whisper.

JANE SADOWSKY lives in North Tonawanda and works as an administrative assistant at the Stanley G. Falk School in Buffalo. Her poetry, which has appeared in such publications as Beyond Bones I, The Empty Chair, Voices From the Herd, The Still Empty Chair and Earth’s Daughters magazine, was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize.