Being on Time Can Haunt You Forever
by Lori Williams

I saw my mother die.
The oxygen mask filled with 48 years,
dripped into my hands.
Nothing but a small, dark good-bye.

No matter the green gown and copper lipstick
after; perfect hair, hands that held me
for 20 years, folded gently with a cross.
No matter the whispered words
of how beautiful she looked—

I remember that. And wish often
I was late to the hospital
to find her already gone –
clean and motherly,
mouth poised as if to say
I love you. Good-bye, my girl.