We entered the room in parade formation,
our gait slow and rehearsed.
The silence of the ventilator momentarily paralyzes me.
Visible is the incubator, it sits empty.
The revelation removes the air from my body,
dissolving my bones. I am offered a metal chair.
Denial embeds itself firmly
within the farthest recesses of thought,
helping my mind move forward. Various people collect around me,
but they arrive too late
to bar the door from dread.
Fear followed their path through the entrance,
pushing promise aside, disregarding
my pleas to stay at bay.
And, as if fear itself was
a relation, it settled in to observe me,
expecting me to turn and nod.
Reality moved into the sterile, hushed room next,
without invitation or welcome,
its heavy hand on my shoulder.
The last shards of hope strangled by its presence,
slowly building to suffocate me
with a clench that refused to loosen.
A loved one squeezed my hand but
only my heart felt the grip.
Nestled within my mind
I concealed a scream that was
suppressed by news
not yet broken.
And like a penny on the tracks
I lost my shape
as fear morphed into
despair and pushed inside the room.
Without a chance to inhale
the Doctor’s voice spilled into the air.
His gentle whisper
sliced my reality
with the words, She is no longer and like that penny,
I felt worthless.
Joanne Spencer is employed by The Review Review reviewing online and hard copy literary journals, Florida Newsline as a contributing journalist and for the St. Johns County Public Library System. In 2013, Joanne accomplished her goal of publishing her novel, The Letter Keeper, and has recently returned to college to learn the craft of writing educational grants.