Steven Coughlin has published poems and essays in several literary journals and magazines, including the Gettysburg Review, New Ohio Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Gulf Coast, Seneca Review, and Slate. My first book of poetry, Another City, was published in 2015 by FutureCycle Press. Currently I am an Assistant Professor of English at Western Colorado University.
To lessen the overwhelming experience
of her own death my mother
would have gladly turned toward the television which played
in the background during the closing minutes of her life.
If her failing lungs—their irregular,
desperate heaves—allowed her, my mother
would have sat up in the hospital bed
stationed in the middle of the living room
and reached her swollen hand for the discarded remote.
And we her caregivers would have understood
my mother’s need to ignore
the obvious shallowness of her breathing
and would have sat silently beside her, our faces reflecting