Touch: The Journal of Healing


Final Night

    by Tina Hacker

When a child dies in Niger,

the family wraps him up

and allows the mother to sleep

with him all night.

The curve of her arm

around the still bundle

forms the last smile

she can give him.

He is hers

during this time for sleeping,

a few hours for the months

he grew in her belly,

one night for the years

crouched beside him

as he played by the fire.

Her thighs remember

relief when he slid into life;

her breasts remember

calm as he took her milk.

She waits until dawn to weep

so her tears will be fresh

as they sink into the wrappings,

an offering of water

and salt to nourish him

on his next journey.

© 2009 Tina Hacker

  1. *Previously published in Mid-America Poetry Review

A Pushcart Prize nominee, Tina Hacker was a finalist in New Letters and George F. Wedge competitions.  Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Bellowing Ark, Blue Unicorn, Piedmont Literary Review, I-70 Review, Mid-America Poetry Review, Kansas City Voices; two anthologies, Show + Tell and Missouri Poets; and upcoming anthologies from Helicon Nine Editions and the Imagination & Place Press.


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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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