Slumped in the kitchen of one of the hospices
For the hopelessly dying, under the auspices
Of St. Jude
With a thousand soul-destroying hours clocked, I brood;
Death's an old friend.
But languishing in his loathsome shadow does not preclude
A more shocking end.
A roomful of silent despair ignites to panicked rage as we suddenly contend
With shaking ground and walls,
Our sacred duty of care, our tangible self-preservation--which will transcend?
We ignore desperate calls
Sprinting away, relieved, the strong forsake the weak--the building falls
Crushed in its wake
The weeping, helpless patients in our care; one (maybe two?) still crawls...
Their bodies break
I watch, horrified, at more than mortal death--my very soul is at stake,
Yet I elude
The victims' pathetic pleas. As if mirroring the frantic earth, my insides quake;
Their lives conclude.