last breath

windowI lay the flat of my hand against my breast. Feel for a beat beneath my palm. Once I heard someone say ‘god will never take you where the grace of god will not protect you’. My lifeline strains against my breastbone. I wonder if god ever really wanted the capital. I have one so perhaps so should He. I and He and my Heart makes We. I look at the woman dead and wonder if His grace is protecting me. Or his grace. Or h i s grace. Or if I am all alone with her last breath as it heads for the open window. Death took her long and mean. Sharp and icy. Took the last just now and left me standing in my mother’s room. My feet bleeding all that I am into the carpet while I search for my own mortality under my thin cotton shirt.

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15 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Flash fiction, Love, Motherhood, Poetry, Writing

15 responses to “last breath

  1. That’s so amazingly beautifully written.

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  2. Danielle

    Oh honey, beautiful! Big things and small things are the same in the end, aren’t they?

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  3. I don’t know why, but in Aussie Lit, we seem to avoid religious themes. Maybe it’s just difficult to get away with, without sounding preachy or trite. But you open this moment with exquisite care and it’s amazing how well you do with so few words. I love the hand on the breast at the centre of this image, feeling for the heartbeat, and those lonely feet on the carpet. Heartbreaking – in such a lovely way.

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    • Yes, we do don’t we. I rarely go there… actually that’s not true. My novel went there in rather a big way and was rejected across the board. I’m currently redrafting it and removing nearly all the spiritual references, so I’ll let you know how it goes second time around!

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      • It sounds tragic that you have to remove your soul, so to speak, to get something published. That’s going a bit far, I know. But isn’t that what we love so much about Tim Winton? A brilliant writer in so many ways, but one who’s still able to keep his spiritual concerns at the core of his work. I rarely write about ‘spiritual’ matters but I was delighted when a friend of mine told me that she still felt that theme in most of my writing. So I’m hoping that even if you cut away the ostensible spiritual content, it will just make the whole work more imbued with that sensibility.

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  4. Again you’ve left me with my mouth open……. You told the story and delivered with so few words, and still managed to caught the open mouth.
    Religion is really a tricky subject, and personally I wonder about God from time to time, I find myself thinking is this part of my life still a test I have to pass?
    Beautiful, I love this!

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  5. i agree with paul. there was so much said; a whole story in such a bundled little paragraph. i enjoyed this very much.

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  6. Dawn

    But I’m dead, right??? Did you ever think you have a penchant for killing off parents? ok, so it’s usually your Dad and that’s kinda ok, but….

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