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On the Anniversary of My Death
by Mary Jo Balistreri

A year ago today, I stopped breathing.
I have no memory of that. Or the months in ICU.
I have learned to walk again, climb stairs,
find missing words. To write simple sentences.
Yesterday, I pumped gas and drove to a restaurant—
angel hair and roasted garlic, tomato-fresh sauce;
wine with a view of one blue kayak carried by water.

Today, I write a poem in an eyrie. A hawk kites
across the glass table. The gulf stretches out in silk.
Sun sparks ride the waves like something blinking
on a ventilator. A speedboat spews a wide white tail.
Vultures stall, flap their wings, hover and wait.
The hoarse voice of the heron calls, the shrill siren
of an ambulance as I open the door.

Later, my feet feel the warmth of sand, and the sea
tosses shells, some broken some not. I fill my pail,
stroll the beach with dolphins alongside me in the water.
The dolphins turn north. Ahead, along the shore line,
an anhinga spreads open his black wings.



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