by Margo Berdeshevsky
This is the place. No chairs.
A woman who is choosing
has sent a petal from her bloom
of conscious closing.
The woman who is choosing when
-scratches vellum. The rook stands.
The woman in the nest of
the phoenix hovers nearer
her edge like that brood of birthing
opal-throated pigeons in an empty
thirsty, one stair above my sill,
breaking their shells one by
one. She repeats
from dusk in a jungle where
medicine leaned small against thorn trees.
Each poison growing in a forest
lives beside its antidote, we said.
I am still eager, I said.
Or the scent of hyacinth.
The woman remembering, who is
choosing when to die will
curl before leaves have blood-burned September.
Surrender by starvation,
she doesn't name her illness
only how many days.
Three more. The woman
in worn white cotton washed us in a tide pool,
brewed petals, shouted under
egrets at the edge of rain. Bon voyage to me & love
life as you live it she scribbles blue before her breath
ends a night and a day and the broken slant
The woman who was choosing when to die.
Too young to be skeletal, skin taken wing.
Bone no longer needed. Dove.
Fire-eyed. Distant. Opal.
The root does not care
where her water comes from.
Here is another thirsty body.
Broken into morning.
Copyright © 2013 by Margo Berdeshevsky. Used with permission of the author.
About this Poem:
"A woman I once knew many years before-suddenly wrote to me to say that she had come across a poem of mine that had been meaningful to her, and that by the time I received her card, she would no longer be in the body. I began this poem, not knowing if it could be reply or elegy. One week later, I heard that it was the latter."
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