Waiting Breath


The hard plastic of the hospital chair,
the too-chilly air-conditioned room
make it uncomfortable
to sit and wait,
wait for the last breath.
Her breathing is labored,
and her grip on my hand strong, but unconscious.
The strength in her body
brings to mind an image of her labor,
giving birth to two boys over three decades ago.

And through my mind floats
another image:
Her own birth.
A small, dusky-skinned
and luminous-eyed infant
with more wisdom in her gaze

than any grown adult.

Her breath, ragged and shallow,
becomes a sound we no longer fear.
But still, we are waiting.
Waiting for the last breath,
with sorrow, with gratitude
and soaked in sacred thanksgiving.

by Laurie M. Vischer, August, 2011


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