We got the death sentence
today, and papers to sign saying,
we give up.
I won’t tell her what the papers
are because she’s only 7
but somehow she knows
because this morning she said,
Momma, please don’t call 911
when I die. Let me go to Heaven.
Still I refuse to sign them and
put them away, at least while
the relatives are here to see her.
But they refuse to see, bringing
candy that sears the blisters
in her mouth, and size 7 clothes
that swallow the size 4 shell
of the child I knew.
They don’t like to hear her talk
about Heaven when she should still be
fighting and all the time she is fighting
chills and fever, but waits to vomit
until they leave.
She begs for a Bible story and then I’m the one
with chills as the words
on the page remind me—
Let the children come to me.