My patient, Paul, wrote in a poem
that he belongs to the wayward wind,
a restless breed,
a strange and hardy class.
I’ve been with him for two years
and now he is dying.
“Are you in pain, Paul?” I ask.
“I AM pain,” he said.
But he is refusing medication
although his cancer has spread
from his kidneys to his lungs, brain and bones.
Somehow bearing this pain to the grave
is his last act of defiance/bravery/repentance.
My hands are tied.
My job now is to protect his choice
and later as promised
to collect his ashes,
read his poems in my garden
then set him free in the wind
where he belongs.