Thirteen hours of patience,
In a cramped basement apartment,
Of a rundown boarding house.
A single toilet, no shower or bathtub,
across the hall,
Where it is inaccessible now,
To this person, my client,
Who has no one left.
Laying on a bed in this tiny,
With ALS and cancer.
A chance roll of the dice,
That came up Snake eyes,
Portending misery and pain.
Not wanting to die alone,
Having burned every bridge,
It is for us to be there,
To hold a hand,
Stroke the hair off a fevered forehead,
And repeat, countless times,
“I am here.”
“I will not leave you.”
Cleaning the urine and stool and blood,
Giving medication to ease the pain.
Present for the arduous journey,
Hoping to help it have some dignity,
We travel together,
On this last uncharted voyage,
Of moving from this life to the next.
Toward the mystery and unknowing,
To a precipice where the living can go no further.
To the threshold between worlds.
13 hours to cradle a broken human life.
13 hours of reconciliation and, hopefully,
Some last, desperate measure,
This is my passion,
And it is the last, most noble, work of my life.