There was Morning and There was Evening

On the first day she slipped poison into her mother’s food and sat tenderly by the old woman’s bedside as she gasped and choked her way into peaceful death. She cried a little when it was over.

On the second day she caught her brother as he came walking along the bridge and slipped him over the edge. He fell silently, and the green waters below swallowed him whole.

On the third day she took her children for a walk in the woods and lost them. Seven teams worked for months combing the hills and brought them back again, identifiable only by the bracelets they wore, identical like they were. She cried and cried over their bones, wept like a dam spinning turbines.

She saved her husband for last, drawing out his death like an orgasm, edging closer and closer without ever quite slipping over. When he died he was blue as a berry, and the white flowering of her thumbprints stayed on his skin for days.

She counted them to herself as her own life spun down to its close, beginning again when she ended, names clicking through her fingers like rosary beads, structured like prayers.