Audio: Read by the author.
The others have gone, so I bring you down,
my child, from your cross. I untether you
from ventilator tubing and central line.
In this bed I pull you across my lap,
kissing each eyelid, then your downy head.
From your little foot I unwind the pulse ox
and tenderly peel the leads from your stilled chest.
I pray you’ve felt my love with your every breath.
All is now quiet. You are not here.
Just this precious, flawed body, briefly home
to your soul. Perhaps you still hover
in some dim corner of this place. We are alone
together, at the end, just as at the start.
Come down, my son, into your mother’s arms.
I promise to hold you across time,
through this life, through all possible lives.
Amy Fleury is the author of two poetry collections, Sympathetic Magic and Beautiful Trouble (both from Southern Illinois), and a chapbook, Reliquaries of the Lesser Saints (RopeWalk). She directs the MFA program in creative writing at McNeese State University.