I passed Death on the way home from school one day.
He sat on the stoop of a nursey, blowing bubbles into windows—
For a minute, he looked the way my mother did,
when she broke the rules and took a 12-hour shift with no lunch break.
And for a minute, I almost felt sorry for Death.
The next time I passed him, he was pacing in front of a grocery store
humming the melody to Sinatra’s
and for a minute I wanted to laugh,
before i remembered the irony of laughing
in the face of death.
When my mother called to tell me
that they had found tar running a race in my brother’s veins,
I remembered the softening apple I had blended into a smoothie years ago
It’s funny to think one bad apple could have led to this.
I’d like to think I asked the doctor
to stay away. I wish he didn’t overwork himself sometimes.
Sometimes I dream of white velvet wrapping my body
in a final embrace,
while the drowsy scent of lilies
clings and hides in the creases of carefully pressed clothes.
And Earth as the greatest seamstress
picks me up and folds me into her cloth and lays me down along the
rest of her stitches.
And she sings to me the crashing of the waves and
love songs of whales while my eyes close.
It’s at these times that I don’t miss my mother.
It’s at these times I find that she’s here.
Ashley Choi is a 12th grader attending Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Her hobbies include reading and writing poetry, performing for her school's theater company, and attending speech meetings.