Silver Alert

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There wasn’t much left
some tatters of fabric
a bobby-pin
gold-shaded
purchased at some box store
to match her hair
long before

The purse rested
zipped
upright
as if set down
next to a slim but sturdy chair
in some shop
while she sipped coffee
leather still sheltering its rainbow of plastic
cards
representations of her
worthiness of risk
her long history of stability
and decisions made responsibly

Trees her headboard
a mattress of weeds
and wildflowers
she lay
a feast
where she’d stumbled
slipping into a final sleep
beyond breath
and wakings to mist or cloudless blue
bones scattered
by industrious birds
fortunate wolves

Had she known her end
she would have been glad
relieved to have not left a mess
to be cleaned by some underpaid aides
wrapping and transporting
the waste she’d left

They had searched
the nursing home cited and fined
her daughter carrying grief
like a spear
never to know
the lost mother
the mother long lost to dementia
rested just as she’d wished
soft sound of stream ahead
tombstone sky

August 2014
Julie Ayers

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