The Last Pull



Sometimes the crackers don’t do anything 
but remind you of how sick you really are. 
You chew them methodically, suck 
every last bit of salt from their crisp corners; 
swallow. It is hard to lie in bed all day. 
It makes the body ache with longing and inactivity. 
All the things you want to do float 
above your head like a billowing mobile, 
but no sweet music plays to accompany them. 
There is only the sound of your own slow 
breath, careful not to wake the thick 
dance of heave and pulse waiting in the back 
of your throat. You wonder if this is what it was like 
for your mother. The weekend she died, 
she was in bed the whole time. 
She said she felt a little under the weather. 
This wasn’t unusual. Your mother was sick all the time. 
Nobody expected it to be the last pull. 
Nobody expected this small seeming flutter 
to be the thing that finally did her long ravaged body in. 
These days, you count the years you’ve been ill 
on your fingers like a metronome. You wonder, 
when did it first visit her? Was she this young? 
You didn’t have time to talk about these things. 
You were only twenty one. 
You fought about money, and your father, 
and the raging notions of two women 
who carried the weight of everyone before them 
on their soft necks. 
You never tell your friends this version. 
How when you called her that weekend, 
you hadn’t spoken for two months prior. 
How now that it’s gone,
you never talk about how broken 
this thing that means so much, really was. 
She said she felt a little under the weather, 
remember? And you said your I love yous, 
not knowing it was the last time. 
You try to push these thoughts 
from your head when you curl your body 
around your husband at night. 
You try not to think about your father, 
how his last word nine years later, was her name, 
gurgling in the back of his wilting throat. 
It is hard to make love when the taste of death 
is fresh in your ragged mouth. 
It is hard to run your hand over the smooth 
skin of the man you love without feeling the silk 
lining of his own coffin. 
You do not dare say it. 
You do not dare confess. 
It isn’t that you want to kill 
the things you love 
so dearly. You are just so afraid 
of losing them 
all the time. 

About Sarah Myles Spencer

Sarah Myles Spencer is a mama, poet, singer/songwriter who’s worked with a variety of artists, including Snoop Dog, E-40, and (the late) Davy Jones. A multi-time Best of the Net Nominee and Pink Door Fellow, her work appears in A La Palabra: The Word is a Woman Anthology – Mothers & Daughters, Words Dance Magazine, Requiem Magazine, and more. For more info, visit View all posts by Sarah Myles Spencer

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