Hospice – by Amy Saia


Two hands rattle the air
Two leaves falling
Hair tinged with strawberry
Strands fanned against the pillow
Eyes stuck to an invisible screen
Nurses keep an unreal composure
Their hiatus now a wake of sound
Outside sunlight pours through clouds
Dryer fluff impregnated with rain
I strip my shoes and curl my toes
Against hot bitter concrete
That stains my nerve endings
Three days of waiting of misery
For a mother who once held me
Those hands
I’ll never forget her hands


In the kitchen they stock comforts
Oreos, popcorn, bagels with cream cheese
Crossword puzzles for the frazzled synapse
A TV and a remote
Low batteries
Constant coffee
It’s a place to go, to gorge
To hide
To avoid
In the refrigerator various lasagnas
Take up space
Each marked with an expiration date
Red ink on white tape.

Amy Saia is a songwriter, mother, novelist and nerd. You can find her most Sundays at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in the Egyptian room. Her mother ran the local library in Spring Hill, a small town in Kansas that is still a small town in Kansas. It was here Amy formed a love of books and all things media. In her mother’s office she composed stories, poems, and letters to her father that were never sent. Currently she is at work on a chapbook about life growing up in the shadow of divorce amid middle-class suburbia.

Statement by Featured Artist, Shelley Thomas: I imagine sun filtered through clouds, eyes fixed and looking out a window from the comfort of a warm bed.  Remnants of motherly care, hands that cupped. I imagine shifting sands. A child now parent. Waiting. The hyper detail of trivialities and minutiae that fill empty hours while waiting for inevitability. Fragile, slow, and still beautiful like a snail turned away, already leaving.  Things take the time they take.
Art: “Signs,” 2017 (Lake Ontario, Canada)