She never could stop smoking, even after she was diagnosed and was very sick.
"Dying, She Was Someone Else"
Dying, she was someone else to me
and to herself perhaps or more entirely
herself than any other time, pared down
for the essential battle to breathe.
Great-eyed with each wrack of coughing
as if in awe—of what I am not sure
perhaps of what she could endure
perhaps at the enormity of pain
perhaps in fear of not enduring.
Trembling hands, oddly brown against the sheet,
after I was gone, lay still.
Alice Roy is a retired college professor living in Washington State.
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