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How the sun moved across the sky that day
was not remembered―except in the way that,
at 4:00, it cast a shadow across your bed
in the form of a long, shattered ghost.
The light shifted for reasons we can’t explain:
whether it was the passing of disease
in its sac like a grey kidney,
or the refracted movement of a car,
what can be said with certainty
is that what you had at seventeen was unjust―
a cancer that had driven so hard into your bones
as to make it a permanent resident.

I sometimes wonder why it took you
only three months to die, and me
fifteen years to write this poem.
But there is always someone else dying
of cancer in a room where shadows move
across the bed like dark birds.
I think of what it was when your bones
were giving themselves up―
what you saw in that moment―
whether it was dim or bright,
clear or murky, how you seemed
to dissolve into a place without fear,
to drift as a lily might over water,
where there is nothing but a room
opening into whiteness.


Laura Stringfellow writes both verse and prose poetry, holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry, and hails from the very humid Southern US. Recent publications have appeared, or are forthcoming, in journals including Right Hand Pointing, Déraciné, Eunoia Review, Thirteen Myna Birds, and Nine Muses Poetry.

© 2019, Laura Stringfellow

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