BellaOnline Literary Review
Poppy by Carol Dandrade

Table of Contents


Masks Off

Linda Golden

Nothing like a hospital gown with its incomplete
Coverage to break the illusion of being in charge.

As drafts make their way upward, I feel the chilled
Hand of death toying with my insides, now-not now.

The woman in the next bed gurgles, struggling for
Every last minute to hold on to loved ones faces.

In this place where they think they can bargain, their
Shiny machines, whirring in the dark, illusion wavers.

Longer I am horizontal here, the less I fear what is next
A peace grows leaf by leaf, Im practicing forgiveness.

When the pain started between my shoulder blades
Then wrapped around my chest, terror ruled the night.

Stricken visages of family add to the unreal play since
Two weeks before they worried about their family patriarch.

Now mother, glue of the family, becomes focus of calls
Hand-holding, sorrowful looks, lame attempts at humor.

Back in my room I hear the grandma in the next bed
Talking for the first time today, fighting her way back.

Me, Im okay. Panic attack, not heart attack. I just have
To learn that its all right not to be superwoman, caretaker
Of too much is folly. Owning my humanness is humbling.

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