Winter

© Galyna Andrushko

 

Starving herself by choice
my mother wanted to know
what meat and vegetables we daughters ate
and whether the pie was good.

She marked on a calendar the days without food,
then water, then ice chips.
She liked the taste of pink swabs better than yellow.
Her lips dry, her saliva sticky.
After three weeks she could not lift the swabs to her mouth.

We gave what comfort she would take
until she said no to our singing
no to visitors, no to talking, no
to all except our hands holding her
who has already let us go.

She wanted to die while leaves were still falling.
She did not want us to travel in winter.

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