Saturday, 18 January 2020

I was texting
after Coffee Break by Kwame Dawes

by Betsy Mars

After your breakfast and a shave,
bathed and massaged, you relaxed.

The intake person had come –
you hadn’t been in hospice
more than 18 hours.
The dietician stopped by
to find out your favorite foods –
no holds barred now that death was near.
The social worker came to offer whatever
other comforts she could bring.

I muted my phone. After all of these visits
and messages from friends and family,
I focused on you at last.
Your eyes were closed
but you were awake, I could tell.

The thing to do was to read you a story,
just as you had so often done.

I don’t recall the book,
but as I told you the backstory
and resumed on the page where I had left off,
that damned prescription came to mind.
I said I’ll be right back, and picked up my phone.
By the time I finished, you had gone home.

* * * * *

"I Was Texting" was first published in Redshift.

Betsy Mars is a poet, photographer, educator, and recently founded a press, publishing Unsheathed: 24 Contemporary Poets Take Up the Knife (Kingly Street Press) in October 2019. Her work has been published in The California Quarterly, RATTLE (photo), The Ekphrastic Review, and Verse-Virtual, among others, as well as in a number of anthologies. Betsy's first chapbook, Alinea (Picture Show Press), was released in January 2019. She is an enthusiastic traveller as well as animal lover which creates a lot of ambivalence when she is away from home. 

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