July

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Death arrived first and waited for the rest of us.

She slept in bed beneath a pall of down and cotton,
drifting away from consciousness
while we toiled within it.

We watched her,
our hushed voices rising up into the air,
“What do we do?”
“What’s left?”
The questions rose while spirits sank.

Her body left a cavity where she tucked herself in,
buried under the insidious warmth of the duvet.

Pounds lost were nothing to the gravity upon her.
Her breath ebbed back into her lungs,
following the contoured mattress—
a cushion sloped like the bends of the universe—
compelled by forces pulling it in,
pulling her in,
too strong to escape,
until she was the first to reach out her hand and say,

“Hello.”

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Johanna Lorie is a twenty-something who usually just writes her feelings in text messages to friends.