Sophie cries, her bent body tense,
contorted like a fist beneath the sheets.
I find a nurse in the hallway.
Sophie just went, she says, exasperated,
vanishing into someone else's room.
I return, tell the patient to relax, lie back.
Now she's calling for Arthur.
My son! I need him! I am dying.
Maybe he'll be here soon, I say,
and: It's okay to be alone.
Then I place my hand beneath hers
and she grips it tightly, releases, grips, releases,
her hand pulsing in mine like a heartbeat.
Finally, she sleeps.
The next day when I enter, I see her
seeing me, her transforming smile.
I sit holding her hand, she, holding mine.
Art credit: "Holding an Elderly Woman's Hand," photograph by Sarah Broadmeadow-Thomas (originally color).