Mourning air

I feel a quiet intruder
as I step into the outdoor space
seeking fresh air,
but the oxygen out here is solemn.
The breeze dusts freckles 
from my nose
but the child in his wheelchair
stuffed with tubes,
is unaware.
His companions have white hair
and lined faces. Grief is etched
into their eyes; their posture 
is hunched with the weight of it.
The woman places a hand
on the child's head; stares out
across the city, bathed
in golden hour sunlight.
The child's eyes are closed
against the warm layers of colour.
I imagine,
when his loved ones look back
on this moment
they will recall only the cold whisper 
of the breeze.
They are wordless in their love for him.
Their tears are stifled 
but they reach me on the wind.
The mourning air sustains him,
but just barely.

~~June Briar Kelsey

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