After the radiation ruined her lungs,
and they’d drained fluid once a month,

then every other week, then every day,
my grandma said she wanted to go

home. The lifelong neighbors and friends
came with offerings of casseroles and

stories. For weeks nothing happened,
though her skin grew sallow, her hair

became unruly, and her naps lasted longer.
One day she motioned for my sister

and me to come closer, away from the relatives
and visitors who circled like horseflies.

Suppose I don’t die after all, she said.
Suppose all these people came to say goodbye

and then I don’t. How embarrassing!
We assured her no one would care

if she lived. As I ate breakfast, she’d stare
out the window. She said she could see them

playing in the field behind the house. When I
looked out: no one. Who? I asked. All the girls,

she said. They’re out there playing ball.
I’d like to join them. Days later, in bed,

sleeping, her breath labored, she no longer
responded to the sound of our voices. I stood

in the room when her spirit left her body
like a sheet being pulled off a bed. I watched

it hover briefly before chasing a hawk,
right outside the window.