Written by Alma Mark – Fong

Edited by Emerald Liu

In her last whisper of breath, light passes through frosted windows
The shadows cascading over soft curves and sagging skin
Her nervous fingers drum along the arms of a sitting chair composed of rotting wood

Tap tap tap

The yellowed, thinning nails and shriveled, raisin-like fingertips still


The hairs on her neck rise at the sound of a skittering mouse over hardwood floors,
Her sense of hearing heightened by her lack of sight
These eyes no longer shed tears; blank and expressionless
The clearness too, has gone from them
Ailments and illnesses too many to count
Fated to perpetual darkness, for the time has come to pay dues
For laying down her life at the feet of those she loved more than the world

She’s a fading photograph of an ending era
Of sweatshops and sewing machines
Gum caked under the soles of tan heels resting on a foot pedal
Tap tap tap
A life well lived you say? I wonder if that’s so
A ghost of her own mind, I wonder the things she regrets
If she had followed the tug of her heart at the call of freedom
Would she now be beautiful, a still-image of her youth?
If I could stare into her soul I would find her dancing figure
young and alive, before the veil of innocence was torn

A spirit locked away in the cages of its soul, I hope she finds her way home
For this is not her first death, but it will be her last
This is a lesser death, one that will set her free
That the caged bird might take flight and reunite with her lover in the sky

Thump thump thump

The low beating of a dying organ begins to slow


Illustration by Peri Law
Instagram: @perijlaw

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