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Any Tuesday
by Janet Sleeper Frostad

I will die on a Tuesday in the early morning.
This is my most trying time of day.

Some January I'll notice the sun
at my nape, the bare warmth as it slides
up my neck and settles into my scalp.

I'll know where my toes touch the floor,
why my hands fold in this way,
how my bones press into the chair.

On that day I'll be waiting
to catch my life by her shoulders
when she tries to slip out.

Startled she'll toss off all she's been holding,
as if it's been kept far too long, as if the pressure
has been pushing for years toward one way out.

Glass will shatter and rain, reflect days,
places, people I'd forgotten, shimmer first love
and Ferris wheels, the last day at my mother's side.

Slumber party feathers will burst from a great exhale,
float and swirl, soft as the scent of my daughters,
familiar as 40 years of marriage.

Stones will fall, dark and indifferent.
The car I didn't see coming, the prognosis,
the day you left. But, they will have no weight.

And paper—bills, certificates of life and death,
Christmas wrap, receipts, love letters, poems–
will settle like snow.

When the last pebble has been pulled
to the lowest corner and its insistent
rolling has stilled,

in this breathless silence,
we'll be eye to eye.

I’ll ask her then,
Where have you been?


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