We Have to Reposition Her in Bed 

the hospice nurse says as my mute

mother-in-law lies in the hospital

bed on her back still as the statue

of liberty, parched lips pinched.

Slick as a magician, the nurse

slides her over to her other side

on a second silk sheet,

until she is facing the wall,

her stiff and staunch back to us.

The morphine should help her

sleep, she says as she fills

vials of the liquid painkiller

and instructs us to administer

the medicine every two hours.

Don’t wake her if she is sleeping.

So we don’t. We do peek around

and see one hand gripping the rail

and the other arm in the air

as she rests on an elbow.

She doesn’t move a muscle,

but still we watch and wait,

not wanting to disturb her.

Finally at bedtime, my husband

touches her shoulder

and she is a snow sculpture

with blue lips and eyelids

closed like Confucius

praying for peace.

Sharon Waller Knutson has published most recently in Verse-Virtual, Muddy River Review, Red Eft Review, Your Daily Poem, Trouvaille Review, Spillwords, Five-Two and One Art. Her first full book collection, What the Clairvoyant Doesn’t Say (Kelsay Books 2021) and her seventh chapbook, Trials and Tribulations of Sports Bob (Kelsay Books 2021) are available on Amazon.