I blink at sky, fiery yellow
this time of afternoon, as I unpin
laundry flapping in an interment
breeze like flags of surrender.
Clothes have wrapped around themselves,
knotted into cloth cocoons. I release
shirts, towels and pillow cases
from a handful of wooden pins
I fold each piece before placing it
in a bushel basket, drop pins into a metal can.
It was yesterday the doctor told me
I have diastolic congestive heart failure,
not an uncommon condition, but a note
of where I am on the life-death continuum.
He is a young, stocky doctor with a mind
sharp as a March wind. I believe he cares
that I am short of breath.
Bed sheets have also wound around the line,
shrouds with bodies inside thin as rope.
I fold the sheets into compact squares, neat
as a finished life. From looking up,
my eyes are sun–numb from glare, the ferocity
Finished, I place the metal can in the basket
with the laundry, carry it to the back porch,
and rest a moment on the swing. I think
how I am at the edge of my life, so conscience
of time. I gaze out over the empty
clothesline, see hawks have returned, occupy
the top of a cellphone tower in the church yard.
They sit there, patient, waiting, their beaks ready
to climb down the air for anything in which
the heart has stopped.