the healing muse

Volume 11, 2011

From the Motel Window

Amy Haddad

Brake lights bleed on the gray snow
as cars and buses move in and out
of the teeming parking lot. Healthy and young,
students and coaches trudge to the stadium entrance,
a swim meet, the sign says. Their breath hangs
in misty clouds over their heads.

She stares down from the motel window,
while the tiny phone delivers crushing news.
Every detail of the scene below is burned
in her mind. She hears the words, all bad,
“tests inconclusive,” “multi-system failure,”
“may not survive the night,” but her attention
is on the dirty snow, the cold she cannot feel,
and the silence in the room. She pulls
the curtains behind her and leans closer
to the window looking down, trying to listen.

The grave voice on the phone
asks about next steps. She knows there are none
merely laying the groundwork for death.
She is trapped here, not where she should be.

Forever she will think this is what grief
looks like, frozen on the other side of a transparent
wall where you can see others move and breathe
but you cannot hear what they say or feel
the cold on your face and in your throat.

Back to Volume 11, Table of Contents

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