Waiting for my connecting flight home to Chicago,
I open Facebook to see 
what I’ve missed, and what I’ve not,
& to pass the time.

I see a post from my sister-in-law Tina, 
who has received a card 
from the woman whose life was saved 
by my nephew’s still-beating heart.

Imagine:  writing a card like that
receiving a card like that

Thank you for my life, I guess.
Thanks to your son for my life.

I only received one card from Jackson 
in his short life.
Also a thank you — after his high school graduation.
I’m pretty sure his girlfriend wrote it.
But I didn’t care. I laughed. 
I had felt proud that day, picking up his cake from Tina,
setting up his party.
We hung his school pictures across the screened-in porch.

Jack was all smiles. 

And now somewhere, maybe not so far from home,
this woman has his heart.

It is incredible.

I can’t begin to explain — 
but it feels like the universe 
flipped the script on us, 
as I still remember the other side of this,
when my mother’s name was on top 
of the transplant list.

One heart, two lungs: 
like a lunch order that never arrives.

As I waited for that day that never came for mom, 
for us,
I never understood, not fully, not until now, 
what our family’s miracle would mean
to another.

Jack’s heart, 
still beating, 
now inside this stranger. 

I think about her getting the call —
Do they still have those pagers? — 
and the joy, the gift, for her, for her family, 
as we were in hell.

It’s too much —
I can’t begin to grasp it —
but if I saw her, I wonder, 
could I lean my head 
against her chest 
for just a moment — 
just to believe — 
to hear it — 

my nephew’s gift, 
his precious, 

Written 3.27.2022, in flight.

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