“Attendance” By: Arya F. Jenkins

You sit at the feet of a woman who is a stranger and is dying, the task at hand—to watch and be with her. Her eyes are very dark, barely open, so when you strive to see something there, it eludes you. You know better than to assume only emptiness resides within and is all that remains. It is, you imagine, more that her thoughts have diminished, lost their weight and shape, joining other parts of her to become the essential matter that will leave when she takes her last breath.
Each of us dies and we know so little about death and it surprises us each time with its variety and imagination, but when it is slow like this, you can see the veins at the temple, the skeletal head with a bare covering of skin, so translucent; you feel that with the slightest pressure you could pierce it. And still the veins pulse, the hands flicker, the mouth moves as if trying to speak or eat, perhaps now only able to savor the memory of these acts once taken for granted.
Her form is so lean it barely raises the single sheet when she breathes. She sleeps on the couch as sun shines in through the wide shuttered window, oblivious and unfeeling. The traffic still goes by, and your hands, having done all they can; all the cooking, cleaning, bathing, changing of nightgowns; all the laundry, now have nothing more to do than to rest with her. You place them on her bony feet that are crossed one over the other at the end of the couch on a pillow, and wait with her while gazing at the light, the eternal light that will not go with her.


  1. Wonderful. Absolutely delightful writing style. A smooth prose with about heavy thoughts. Like whip cream on top of rich chocolate cake. I also like the length. It shows you do not need much to create something with value. Keep it up. I want to read more.

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