There is a difference in the room,
The body of my mother.
Her hands are still warm.
Rigor mortis has not yet stiffened them,
they bend into my hands.
Her cheeks still slightly flushed
But there is no mistaking – she is gone.
Finally, I can do what I have wanted to do for a week.
I climb into bed with my mother,
laying my head against her shoulder,
gripping her hand tightly in my own.
It would be so easy to think she was still alive,
about to shift to put her arms around me.
But her chest no longer rises in time with my own,
And her heart no longer flutters like a tiny bird
in a cage made of bone.
I surprise myself by not crying.
I just lay there quietly,
It’s only when I try to speak that the tears come.
I lean up to press my cheek against hers