In Her Fortieth Year

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.

Suzanne Edgar

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