At My Grandmother’s House the Week Before She Died
Someone has to be with her, always
but not for much longer
my mother sleeps on the couch,
body too exhausted to resist
sleep. I pace the living room,
walk to the screen door,
look out at all that darkness, everything
else that is sleeping
try to take in fresh air
the stink of the place clogs my nose
my throat. It smells of disease.
And her dogs, those goddamn dogs
little sickly things, leaving
their stench on everything
I walk to my makeshift bed, lie down, get
up again, pace to the door. In the
other room, my grandmother coughs, gasps,
barely catches her breath
I have come to help, I have come to
say goodbye. Morning will come.
I will leave, I will hug the delicate bones
of her small body, the body that was never so small
as it is now. I will kiss her sagging cheek
tell her I love her, that she
is a good grandma. It will be
true when I say it.
I will leave, and that will be the last time.
But for now, I pace to the window, try to breathe, try
to shake off the stink. In the other room
my grandmother coughs.
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Grace Moore is a writer from Washington. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and the occasional poem. She also writes articles on travel, mental health, writing, and books. Sometimes she’s funny, or at least that’s what her mom says. Follow her on Instagram @gracieawriter.