The Goodbye

What to do with my hands — her fingers curved to hold mine
but not holding, taking the shape of a loose grip, in repose,

outstretched on the pale blue sheet. Her eyes half-open
and moving, but not furtive. As if measuring things

in another realm, and she might be. Whether the new house
has floors wide enough for her living room rugs. How much sunlight.

There was also a tortoise shell cat on a footstool while we were
there that slept and slept. Hospital bed tilted slightly,

a big screen on mute playing Harry Potter. She loves lotuses,
Native American baskets, books, wine, and Harry Potter.

I place the sachet my friend made beside her forearm and hope
the lavender reaches her. We never made it to France together.

My hand on her sleeve. How she would drag me at dawn to outdoor
antique shows, hunting for tables inlaid with Santa Barbara tile.

No chips, and they had to cost less than forty dollars.
For objects, she has a certain strictness. Wherever she’s going,

let there be laughter. My hand smooths the quilt over her knees.
This is the part where she finishes dying and I begin to remember.





Molly Fisk edited California Fire & Water, A Climate Crisis Anthology, with a Poets Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets. Author of The More Difficult Beauty, Listening to Winter, and five volumes of radio commentary, her new collection, Walking Wheel, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. She lives in the Sierra foothills and has won grants from the NEA, the California Arts Council, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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