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The news is good, I say,
when she asks me how it went,
my mother’s face soft as sand
touched by wind, the drugs
like an air she’s drifting on.
I hold a straw to her lips.
And later I watch her attempt,
in her confusion, to sip
from the little reed of the IV
needled in her wrist.
I’m so thirsty, she says
when I take her searching hand.
She asks and I tell her
a second time, The news is good—
I bring good news, I say,
like some repeating angel.
She keeps trying to push away sleep,
brushing it like desert dust
from her fingertips.
The news is good, I say again.
She won’t remember this—
not my voice feather-quiet,
nurses shuffling in the distance,
not the way I stand beside her bed,
haloed by the fluorescence
of the hospital room,
its green, prophetic glow.



Jehanne Dubrow is the author of nine poetry collections, most recently Wild Kingdom (LSU). Her third book of nonfiction, Exhibitions: Essays on Art and Atrocity (New Mexico), is forthcoming in 2023. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas.




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