The Way Around the Light

“Birthing Bones” by Gleah Powers

Crawl through the hospital like a toddler
when it is winter. Babble
to the nurse your plans for spring.
Pretend the door opening
down the hall won’t hold your mother
bathed in artificial heat.
Crouch under the window before
the sun reaches over its rim.
Slip under the bed, stare
blankly at your phone, its light is kinder
than the sunlight, softer
than the x-ray’s portrait of her myelin sheath
shedding from her nerves,
wet coat after rain.

Be sure to stop
the nurse from tearing
open the curtains, for
as the light streams
in and Mom’s eyes
lift and the light
spills over her dreams
in medias res, for a moment
you’ll see her still
walking in her old life—
like coming to the end

of your favorite book
for the last time
and you can’t put
it down and then
it is evening and
the light is falling
and the last word
you read was dying.


by Caleb Braun