grief and triumph were one and perennial,
petals on the same rose,
or the same rose by other names.
—Kelly Cherry

When Rachel was dying, and too weak
any longer to sit up when visitors,
crying, came to say their last goodbyes,
she listened to her friend Deb’s prayers,
whispered over the hospital bed.
Then, suddenly, grabbing Deb’s arm,
Rachel lifted her head and prayed—
not for herself, but for her friend,
who was so shocked by this last proof
of goodness that she began to weep.

Then Rachel’s face settled again,
its petals sweeping back into place,
and she fell, once more, asleep,
while Christ walked toward her
holding his shears of pity and peace.

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