Last Rites

She’s given up sex.

She’s given up travel.

She’s up the rush

of alcohol to the brain

at the first sip of wine–

that sweet burn

as it slips down the throat.

And her quarrels,

her celebrations,

she’s given them up too

as she’s given up books–

their pages too heavy to turn.

What’s left is a blur

of sky where the weather

rehearses its own finales.

What’s left is blue emptiness

behind the white sail

of the nurse’s scratched cap,

steering her out to sea.  

                                             Linda Pastan, American Poet


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