Accept the gutting


Color drained from the living, nation

over the dam, like saffron stream

in catheter tube, no splash, spray


no tin ring on bedpan bottom

in critical-care where the beloved lay

as if serving up an entire heart.


All those gathered by the bed

should wish nothing complicated really,

just that we somehow breathe again,


on our own -- spiritual guidance of sorts,

Mother Earth, fill our lungs with peace.

Like our bodies, we fear scalpels,


believe each slice leads us closer

to slaughter -- become accepting,

certain of the end, won't reach out,


grab hold, embrace others,

brown, black, red. We don't fight,

gray, close eyes tight, whisper


into breathing tube, must give up,

release me, time to go --

accept the gutting, abandon hope.


                              Timothy Pilgrim