Shadow by Patricia Davis-Muffett


You were the shadow who followed her
through woods, who sat with her waiting
for the divorce decree. He who appreciated
her predictability, the kindness in her eyes,
the way she sings to herself
when she is alone, the way she buries
her face in fur when she wakes at 2 am,
worrying about her boys, about the patients
she sometimes shepherds
out of this lonely world.

After the emergency vet said enough
so her oncology nurse brain heard
“cancer” before it was spoken,
she burst into tears. She, who sits
with patients every day, most dying
either quickly or slowly. Later, she said,
“That poor vet having to tell me,
having to be with me as I cried.”


Patricia Davis-Muffett (she/her) holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Her chapbook, alchemy of yeast and tears, is forthcoming. Her work has won numerous honors including honorable mention in the 2021 Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award and second place in the 2022 Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, and has appeared in Atlanta Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, Quartet Journal, Calyx and Comstock Review, among others. She lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her family.

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