Closure & Closure

The newborn fell asleep beside her mother who died in the early morning                from a blood clot in her brain.
Quiet and lovely, Beth’s death was a loss for millions of little girls.

Their bodies were found five miles apart in the kitchens of their homes.
The boy’s mother died on a kidney machine. He died at nineteen from a                  virus.      

He drank too much one night and then died from an overdose.
He was shot in the back. The other was stabbed and slashed repeatedly.

He passed through the door of the hotel with a little pistol in his pocket. 
Both were bachelors. Both lived alone. Both were discovered at 8 a.m.

The deadly fire they started in the rafters spread to his crib.
My feathers ruffle. There’s no record of his death, but he died.

Things get better, get worse and then your body is cold and stiff on a table              in the mortician’s room.
Your feet, once tucked into your mother’s body, warm and slippery, are
          now hidden inside a box.

“Closure and Closure” was first printed in The Paris Review, Issue 143 (Summer 1997). Included in Detective Sentences (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2001) by Barbara Henning © 2001; Prompt Book: Experiments for Writing Poetry and Fiction (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2021) by Barbara Henning © 1997.