Tim Hunt

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The following piece appeared in our first (Summer 2002) issue.

Night Shift, First Death (Children's Hospital, Seattle)

for Susan

by Tim Hunt

The child should not have lived -- can not,
and someone wheels it to an empty room.
The parents do not come
and perhaps it's best.

but you cannot bear her to die
alone, though she cannot know
she is alone and dying.
And these hours after the night of work
you rock to the slow stilling
in an empty room.

You do not see the light
grow around the curtain
and do not hear your singing,
until you stop as if wondering

why you are here
without a name or past --
a slat of glare
where the curtains do not meet.

I do not pretend to understand the lullabye
of death as you turn in this dark
and become hers again and we wait to see
what light will come,
but for this, I know, we are human
and must not turn away.

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