by Sue Proffitt

When I opened my mother’s eyes

I expected glazed windows.
Deep fog through windscreen glass.

It was a troubling thing to do.

They weren’t completely closed
but even if they had been
I’d have done the same

in those hours just after –

that terminal silence
when clocks still go
and the medicine trolley rattles

its mad monologue down the corridor

but in this room, nothing
but the dead-bird body
of my mother

I think I did it to make sure.

No. I knew.
But the one unbroken line was between our eyes –
when everything else had snapped

one look – tiny isolated spark –

still jumped a connection,
wordless, nameless,

Was it still there?

With one finger, gently,
I pulled each eyelid up.
There they were –

blue still, clear, fluid.

Were they empty?
No. They held the look of someone
leaning back into the body of a mountain

looking down

from The Lock-Picker, Palewell Press (to be published February 2021)