Poetry by Laura Ann Reed

“Max Dying”
             By Laura Ann Reed

Those days when his body bloated,
water and food refused.
When I was young, not knowing
how a sun falls and my mother, distracted
by her life’s deletions:
her polio-stricken limbs, the four miscarriages,
the pair of living infants whose breath
turned to air.

Because I’m allowed to see him prior
to the needle’s grace, I memorize
the fluorescent light’s nimbus
above the cage where his distended
form trembles. Pressed against the finger
I wedge between the wires
his nose is dry, burning.
Low in his throat his heart’s purr rattles,
a broken motor.

- Laura Ann Reed, a San Francisco Bay Area native, taught modern dance and ballet at the University of California, Berkeley before working as a leadership development trainer at the San Francisco headquarters of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the United States, Canada and Britain. She is the author of the chapbook, Shadows Thrown, (Sungold Editions, 2023). Laura and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest.

Copyright©2023 by Laura Ann Reed