in the hospitals I’ve been in
you see the crosses on the walls
with the thin palm leaves behind them
yellowed and browned

it is the signal to accept the ultimate

but what really hurts
are the bedpans
hard under your ass
you’re dying
and you’re supposed to sit up on this
impossible thing
and urinate and

while in the bed
next to yours
a family of 5 brings good cheer
to an incurable
or a case of general rot.

the bedpan is a merciless rock
a horrible mockery
because nobody wants to drag your failing body
to the crapper and back.

you’d drag it
but they’ve got the bars up:
you’re in your crib
your tiny death-crib
and when the nurse comes back
an hour and a half later
and there’s nothing in the bedpan
she gives you a most
intemperate look

as if when nearing death
one should be able to do
the common common things
again and again.

but if you think that’s bad
just relax
and let it go
all of it
into the sheets

then you’ll hear it
not only from the nurse
but from
all the other patients…

the hardest part of dying
is that they expect you
to go out
like a rocket shot into the
night sky.

sometimes that can be done

but when you need the bullet and the gun
you’ll look up
and find
that the wires above your head
connected to the button
years ago
have been cut

useless as
the bedpan.