The night my sister received the news
that she would die before long
she sat straight up in the hospital bed
and hardly paused for breath
but spoke like a woman who’d put up a fight:
Death’s never frightened me. Then again,
if dying becomes a drawn-out thing …
She left the rest unsaid.
From jutting her chin at the window’s glass
as if a ghost out there fought back,
she leaned against the pillows
and scowled at the starless sky.
Her words and black defiant eyes
displayed the sort of grit
that I had always seen from her—
she didn’t miss a beat.
Her end was not an easy one
I watched, and I couldn’t help:
the dying time proved slow and hard
just as we had feared.