Worry Beads – oil on canvas by Susan Kelly-DeWitt

It isn’t the pleated plastic
snake, or the mouth they cut
into her stomach to suck it

it isn’t the accordion of the lungs
squeezing out the laborious
hymns of exhalation

but the mobile of paper
birds her family hung so hopefully 
over her bedwild tropical birds,
macaws and toucans, parrots
and cockatoosthat I remember,

how the shadows of the birds
tethered to their wires
over her like wild angels.