by Rick Mullin

He said she looked at peace the second day,
Good Friday, but I saw her Thursday night,
her intubated body as it lay
deflated where the seven-hour fight
to keep her breathing mercifully stopped.
They’d pounded her so hard and for so long
she looked assaulted, like a fighter dropped
in extra rounds. My sister-in-law, strong
enough to mix with Lupus thirty years,
surrounded by her family, gave in.
On Easter Sunday, after several beers,
her brother, who’d gone back, gave us the spin.
But I’d seen her Irish brothers in her face.
The stony aura. That pugnacious grace.