Late Fermata

On what would turn out to be Katie’s last good day
she asked to be wheeled outside & helped
into the Lazyboy her brother dragged out back
no one even bothering to remove the tag
from Costco that flapped, wild as a trapped bird 
before the wind surrendered
to a thin cardigan of mid-December sun
as all afternoon we watched
her sleeping while the sky hemorrhaged
quietly down & the small hills of dogshit
arranged along the graying cedar fence
did not blaze into anything
like golden stones, but her hair had grown
back a half inch or so & so glowed
in the last of that tinny glare
& if I thought briefly then of medieval manuscripts
where everyone important grows a halo
it wasn't quite like that either
although the bones of her face did appear
as if at low tide to surface
smooth as driftwood where the injured
bird might light in the moonlight, holding on
for some measures longer than expected.

Copyright © 2022 by Jenny Browne. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 11, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.