Marie, Your Smile (prose poem)
In my mind’s eye you stumbled across a smoke-filled passage desperate for air as the Fire Marshall’s Office surmised later; crawled on tired knees afraid to take a breath but you did, the heat scorching, hidden within belching smoke which first awakened you and you rushing downstairs to shake your man, notorious for falling asleep, cigarette burning. The fire advancing rapidly, flames delicious for a victim, you. In your new house with the big mortgage, imagine your hard earned money gone, years of saving.
I remember how you nursed others at hospital emergency, their last breaths, Palliative Care they called it. You were a consoling angel, always worrying about a husband careless with leftover butts, wondering if he would be asleep before you finished your shift. You’re not just a memory dear one. I still see your face, hearing those trudging steps up the steep stair case, puffing for air, that special smile, your last gasp of awe as you remembered one last dip of evening sun, before turning in. I can still see that smile.
© Richard L. Provencher