portion of the artwork for Jennifer Finstrom's poetry

Cardiovascular Critical Care, University of Michigan Hospital
Jennifer Finstrom

The first time
my mother
coded,
I was standing
on one side
of the raised bed
talking about nothing
while she worked
at breathing
without the ventilator.
When her hand
went limp,
the nurse, Sarah,
called her name
loudly and then
called something else
into the hall.
This was before
the dialysis,
before the pneumonia,
before the ICU delirium
that had her drinking
from invisible cups
and mouthing words
to no one.
I got out after
the machines came in,
though I left
my purse,
a copy of Jane Eyre,
and the sandwich
I had made at the hotel
on the window ledge
overlooking
the Detroit Observatory,
where nothing had changed
since 1854,
and the pale dome
was still opened
by pulling
a slow rope
to view the moving stars.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 41 | Summer 2013