Red broth, steaming soup, vegetables
just picked, now my lunch; I slurp life in.
Sister Laura on the line, “Sister Rita is dying.
I’ll put the phone to her ear. Say what you’d
can’t talk, won’t respond. Say your good-bye.”
A pause. My lungs expand, mind races, I search
for words just-right. I mutter, “Thank you,”
“I love you,” “Pray for me,” “Enjoy freedom,”
She moans acceptance. The words echo—
feel blank, all seems hollow—
Red broth, steaming soup, life once fresh
now my lunch; hot liquid tasted,
Minutes later I hem black cloth for prayer,
black cloth for teens needing gifts from God—
Dedicated to Sister Rita Rathburn, FSPA, who was a sister, friend, and coach for me in the craft of writing. She died on Monday. May she rest in peace.