With All Good Wishes For a Slow Decline

     A Patient's Prayer For His Physician


I wish you pain in every way
on every day for all the days
that lie before you --
may they be many.

May your numb and frozen hands curl up,
shrivel like dried leaves but burn inside,
smoulder like a sealed coalmine
beyond extinguishment

May your limbs become lead weights,
every move a drain of strength and will,
a threat to drag each muscle, writhing,
from its insertion

May your frame corrode and rust,
turn to dust while you still live,
till joints grate bone on bone
in painful discord

May your dreams shine bright each night
then swiftly break, a mirror of past life
now shattered by hard shafts of pain,
the day's black light

I wish you pain in every way
on every day for all the days
that lie before you --
may they be like mine.