The Dream of Her Long Dying

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June 21, 2019 by The Citron Review

by Mary Grimm

 

We gave my mother away, my sister and I, bridesmaids to her dying, not knowing our duties as well as some. The plump of the pillow, smooth of the sheet, cup held to the lip: we had missed that class. She said she was dying and we said no. If this death were a dream, how then if we took her arms, one on each side of the bed?

She was dressed in white, white sheets, white bandaged arm, a heroine in a white sling, bony wrist ringed in plastic. Who gives this woman? Her room was hot as the tropics, the nurse’s shirt an equatorial print. Jungle: green, leafy – would the flowers brush soft against our arms, the petals falling on her white skin, her pillow?

I hoped for a parrot, a monkey to eat the bits of her unloved breakfast. Is it still snowing, she asked. Our answer was that we remembered the click of the soup bowl on the yellow table, the steam when she raised the lid, the stitching in the hem turned up to show our knees. She was dressed in white and so we stepped back, one on each side of the bed. Who takes this hand? Her hair was a veil on the pillow.

 

Mary Grimm has had two books published, Left to Themselves (novel) and Stealing Time (story collection). She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University. Currently she’s working on a dystopian novel about oldsters.

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