Hospice on pink sheets,
urology calls on yellow
purple for Red Cross
Good Morning! …. a dam is breaking
there is blood in his urine,
a hospice patient is actively dying.
Conversely, can someone be actively living?
Certainly not me, tethered to this board
for seven hours
pressed into my seat by the weight
Patient…no correct that,
Lifeline™ subscriber has fallen
the hospice client is agitated and needs medication.
From the pink home health care sheet
I read the history of a woman’s dying,
from midnight to five a.m.—
dysphasia at midnight
then gurgling noises at two,
rattling noises in her chest at three.
By five, she has stopped breathing.
A daughter calls with a message
for the hospice nurse.
Her father has passed—
fifteen minutes ago.
I give her silence, a tiny space
of time so she can continue.
I want to tell her my father
is dying but I can’t.
She is holding back tears
but crying would be better than words.
I am so tired of words.
Kathleen Fagley is a graduate of New England College’s MFA program in poetry. Her chapbook, How You Came to Me, was published in July 2012 by Finishing Line Press as a finalist in the New Women’s Voices Series. She has had poetry published in The Stillwater Review, Memoir Journal, Cutthroat, The Comstock Review and others. She lives in Keene, New Hampshire with her husband Paul and teaches babies and toddlers in the Child Development Center at Keene State College.