Christmas 2003

By Emily Milner

A tiny tree: glitter-spangled
ornaments, blinking lights,
perched on her narrow
shelf. Machines sustaining
life (and fear) sang carols,
a choir of beeps.
Beneath the tree, her picture: look.
This figure swathed in gauze,
held by hissing tubes,
is nothing like
my husband’s sweet-eyed mother.

Christmas Day we opened hollow gifts;
left the children, unsuspecting,
and visited the ICU.
We held her empty hands.
Too stunned to cry, we watched
her body rise and fall:
machine-made breath,
slipping life.

New Year’s Day
we set her free.

About Emily Milner

(Poetry Board) graduated from BYU in Comparative Literature, but it was long enough ago that most of what she learned has leaked out. She would like to mention other hobbies or interests, but to be honest she spends most of her free time reading (although she does enjoy attempting yoga). She used to blog at hearingvoices.wordpress.com. For now, though, Segullah is her only blogging home, and it's a good one.

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