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By Anna McClean

I know you planned your departure.

You made sure to see us all one last time,

checking off your mental list of loved ones,

refusing to leave until you’d done all you needed to do.

But you didn’t tell me.

I didn’t know I wouldn’t see you again until the wake,

or that I should have done better to collect pieces of you.

You were so much more than a few birthday cards, a pillow, and a change purse.

I haven’t taken out a penny of its contents

and you would be upset because you were so practical.

The money was a gift meant to be spent but I see you in each coin

and the stitching on the pillow I refuse to use

and the pen ink in your letters that I now have tattooed.

You did not like tattoos.

You wouldn’t be so very proud of this decision

but I’m not sorry because every time someone asks what it says,

I get to talk about you

and for those moments, you’re still here.


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