Photo by Dee Ashley.

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After the Funeral

After the one twin died, funeral tears
still marking our faces,
we needed to visit the living
sister, and tried for hours
to find a passable road not flooded
by the seven-day deluge of rain and storm
to travel to Hershey – place of chocolate
and hospitals and death,
but every single road overflowed, ended
in the threat of drowning and floating away.

About to give up, my hands raised in the air
despair of my car, stopped at a station,
my mother cursed Can’t you
and your digital guide lead us
around this damn flooding! I wanted to cry
again, Just get us there! she demanded.
My car doesn’t have wings,
I zinged back at her. The sight
of that god-awful baby grave section
lined with angels, stuffed animals
and Matchbox cars left behind for the infant departed,
that too-small white coffin floating through my head.

But then at the gas station, our last-ditch effort before giving up,
a local man doled out three winning roads like lottery numbers –
the tumbler code I repeated over and over in my head.
In the end, we arrived at the Hershey NICU to see
the survivor—three-pound twin, so thin and doll-like,
but her chest kept rising and falling, her tiny arms
moving as if searching the room for that missing brother,
her little hands opening and closing and opening again.