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Last Rites

"Mom's thirst for air called out one last time"

Published onAug 14, 2023
Last Rites

Photo by RODNAE Productions:

Black face masks litter the schoolyard
like fallen baby crows crushed underfoot:
cries silenced, hearts stopped.

Mom’s thirst for air called out one last time,
desire and pain issued from her open mouth
leaving my tongue crumbled on the ground.

My throat aches, in need of anointing.
Leave the sacred oil off her eyes, her forehead.
Pour it instead down my darkened tunnel,

coat the wailing that rises against the tightness,
words stuck,
opening clamped, airways thick with loss.

Margaret Anne Kean received her BA in British/American Literature from Scripps College and her MFA from Antioch University/Los Angeles. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in, Eunoia Review, Drizzle Review, EcoTheo Review and Tupelo Quarterly. She is collaborating with a Portland, Oregon composer to set a tanka series. Kean lives in Pasadena, California.

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