I am an older sister.

I wrote this while Emily was still in a coma.




Emily, where are you

somewhere between touch and pain?


The troops parade your bedside,

but none can know the love

I hold for you.


Your fists are tiny and pink -

squeezed with abnormal

strengths -


The doctors say



seizure-type movements


But we, we imagine, we hope,

pray into reality your recognition

of our voices.


I question this creator of ours -

he made us to worship and serve -

but how, Emily, can you worship and serve

if you cannot





(Raise your little lids

Emily - let us see your oceans)


But Creator does not

answer, leaves me

to realize that even without

seeing or speaking


even without folding

your hands in prayer


You worship because

you are an image

of the Creator


your eyebrows,

exquisite, no less

awe-taking than great snowy mountains


Your throat, so more blessed

in silence

(your throat, to us, a pregnant

column in anticipation of wind and words.)


blake said he could see

the whole world in a grain of sand


I see the grain of sand in you,

every reflex, every blink,

cat-like yawn becomes a life

an individual of hope that

springs and runs wildly from the sullen ranks.


Until you awake, we have taken certain vows:

to love the smell of antiseptic,

to love the call of the green tags

(at the designated times of 10, 2, 4, 8, and 10)

to love you into knowing

to hold your posturing limbs

to ask for what we do not deserve

to bless your laboring heart

to call in unyielding groanings of prayer

to finish the puzzle in the TICU waiting room

(the same puzzles I stared at in anger the first night

you were here - "Who in hell wants to work puzzles

in a TICU waiting room?")

to anoint you with Lourdes water

to cry for you

to laugh for you

to remember for you


(and nothing will happen to you, but that

it goes through Him first, may His light shine upon us,

and may you smile again)


Nanette J. Francis

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Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

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