The Moment My Mother Died
It was quiet in the hospital at 7 p.m.
She was hooked up only to the morphine drip
And pulse oximeter glowing green
As its number dropped, 53, 45, 40.
When we arrived in the morning,
her eyes were closed, her breathing rough.
She gasped for air like a guppy.
But she was aware. She turned her head
Toward her doctor’s voice.
“Do you want more oxygen?”
She shook her head.
“Do you want to be more comfortable?”
She pushed down the sheet, the hospital gown,
Till she was almost naked.
Did she want to leave this world the same way
She’d entered it?
She swallowed water from a sponge.
My sister talked her through a guided meditation,
Holding one hand while I held the other.
She turned her closed eyes toward my sister,
Then toward me.
Did she want an alternative from me?
I wished I had words to say,
“I know you don’t believe in this spiritual bullshit,
“I know you’re ready to go,
“But we’re not ready to let you go.
“There’s still so much you have to tell us,
“There’s still so much we haven’t asked you,
“There’s still so much we went to know.”
The skin of her neck fluttered with
Each slowing breath.
The oximeter read 25, 14, 9.
When it read X, I watched her neck,
A minute, two, three. No movement.
The room was quiet, empty, lonely,
The moment my mother died.