December 22

Above all, I remember your purple toes–
a sign of the dead end you were approaching.
The seasoned nurse lifted the sheets
and showed me your long suffering digits
that used to bruise from toe shoes
in dance lessons in pink with ribbons.
Swollen and left behind, no longer required
to spin or point in first position.

Sister, I should have stayed beside you.
But your last anguish and your empty shoes
were more than I could bear to remember.

2 thoughts on “December 22

  1. By focusing first on one seeming small detail — the sister’s “purple toes” — your poem’s speaker smoothly allows the reader into a difficult subject. Your contrasting images are evocative, and set up the poem’s pervasive sense of loss. I was especially struck by:

    Swollen and left behind, no longer required
    to spin or point in first position.

    Good work!

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