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MUSED Literary Magazine.

Photos de Barbara

Brigitte Goetze

She smiles for the camera, as is her wont.
Her face, completely devoid of any cushioning,
is crowned by new tufts of gray, a soft duckling’s down,
growing without any sense of direction.
But most strikingly, her irises darkened to a deep-sea blue,
merged with her pupils into a spell-binding unity.
Her gaze, now vast and remote,
offers an impersonal, immense kindness with a hint of sadness.
She is, this dying woman, still, as always, beautiful.

We live on opposite ends of the world.
Each one emigrated to a foreign country,
found her heart in a language
our mother never spoke.
Yet, like tectonic plates carried by magma,
we remained connected, not just because
we are sisters—we could talk about realms
where words are only awkward brush strokes,
at most, dabs of color on white paper.

All I have now are these photos,
emailed, mercifully, by my brother-in-law.
I light a candle, let her face fill
my screen, try to take in that she is already past
speaking. I must release her
to this process of diminishing and expanding,
her body fading, her eyes previewing regions
I cannot visit, not even in my dreams.
“You have no idea,” she had said, smiling.