Until You Die

We see the sick
the "got it worse than you"'s
In the hospital
the drug store

Train your eyes
on your laces
Don't stare.
Don't stare.

They keep breathing.
Keep pumping blood.
Keep carrying the burden.
Because
that's just what you have to do
until you die.

You see it
flit behind their eyelids
the constant uncertainty
that will
never
be washed out
like an eyelash
or a speck of dust.

The trademark
of those who live
from hospital visit
to hospital visit.
wondering
what's coming next.

Some of the ill
hooked into machines-
Machines-
that keep breathing their air.
Keep pumping their blood.
Keep carrying their burden.

They say
"Just kill me"
"Just pull the plug"
They're selfish.
After life
they get to indulge
in limbo
in nothingness
in a void
no worry
no grief
no late nights
pondering
where they've been
and where they are
and where they're going.

No.
No, it's the Family
the Friends
The Woman
who stands behind the counter
at the Zippy-Mart
where they acquire their daily doughnut
The Boy
to whom they said hello
on the way home from work
each sticky afternoon.

The sheets
look untouched
crisp
and immaculately white
pulled taut
like a drum
under a once-was
never-will-be-again
corpse.

The next day
If you were to walk
past the panes
between each solemn cubical
and the linoleum floored hallways
any sign of their being
is gone.
All traces erased
All evidence destroyed
that anyone may have ever
consumed the circulated air.

Reminding you
that they're gone for good.
They're not on a business trip
Not at a friend's house
Not over seas
exploring Peru
or Bolgaria
Or Vietnam.

It's those
who have appended themselves
to the "got it worse than you"
who are forced
to keep going.
Keep breathing.
Keep pumping blood.
Keep living with the burden.
Because
That's just what you have to do
Until you die.





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