Edna's Asthma

By Terry Collett

Edna had asthma
And she used to put
This big black mask
Over her face
To help her breathe
And she talked
In short gasps
And wheezed
Between words
And had the best eyes
You could remember
And a smile that lingered
Long after she turned back
To shove the mask back on
And stood with one hand
On the table to steady herself
And the other gripping the mask
And it seemed death stood
In the wings of the house
Biding his time
Leaning maybe against
The dresser or in the dark hall
And Mother said Edna thought
Others talk about her
Behind her back
And it made her quite paranoid
Hearing whispers
When it may have been
Just the harsh wind
Through loose shutters
Or dull women’s mutter
And you guess she knew
You thought about her
And loved her down
The cold long nights
Thinking of you
As that young boy
With the cheeky grin
But then death
Took off with her
Worn out and thin.

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