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POETRY
Layers
Linda Hughes

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She lies on a white sheet in ICU.
Frail, curled on her side.
Thin gray hair, thin hospital gown.

Everything about her
in thin layers.
The faint beat of her heart.
Back curved toward the world
her only armor.

He stands, young man, 
on sterile tiles.
Watches her
through the glass window.

I watch them both.
I am still, barely breathing,
knowing—

She will uncurl a little,
the layers will come apart,
drift up—
one after the other
to wherever it is
old women go
when too much has been lost
to remain tethered. 


Linda Hughes has had work featured in Mangrove Review, Art Alliance Broadsides, Art Poems, and Florida Southwest Anthology. She won first place in Poetry at the Peace River Center for Writers. She regularly attends the Poetry Alliance and the SWFL Poets in Ft. Myers. In addition, she studied writing with Anne Marie Macari at the Hermitage in Englewood, Florida. She was a photojournalist for the Sun Herald, a Pulitzer Prize winning news publication.