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by Phyllis Hillinger

Open her closets
boxes piled
tightly crammed
towers rising
in anticipation of needing something
to give someone
just because she’d come to lunch
or thought she might.

On every surface
in every room
collectibles of every sort
special finds, one of a kind’s
beautiful things to covet
and dust.
Figurines of fancy ladies
charming plates with smiling babies
cats and dogs
and old world scenes
and chocolates
always chocolate.

But the giver's not herself today
will not be comforted
by her stock
her readiness for invitations
to be the bearer of small gifts.
Arthritic fingers will not touch
possessions placed precisely now
without exception.

She folds her hands
across her chest
adjusts her head
a hollow pillow
and wishes for one final gift –
the breath to say goodbye.


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