How Many Humiliations Must I Endure Before The End Comes?
How many humiliations will I have to go through
Before the End comes?
How many small punctures and pains?
How many pleas for help unanswered?
How many revolts of my own body against me?
How many impatient waitings must I endure
Before my turn at last comes,
And I have a chance to fuss about my medications
And anger those waiting even more impatiently behind me?
How many little slips I barely regain my balance from?
How many slights from those who do not even wish to sit next
To someone so old and so ugly?
How many mirrors must I turn away from in disgust?
And how many sudden outbursts I would never have expected from myself?
How much irritation endless infinite irritation and inflammation?
How many checkings of myself and anxious misreadings of instruments I cannot properly operate?
How many regrets at having lost my best self and never being able to get back to it?
How many pathetic glances at young women who do not even see me?
How much little body burning which turns my soul completely away
From some higher thing?
How many reminders that I am only an animal,
Like the other lower animals in the terrible greed of my hunger
The angry viciousness of my thirst?
How much being brushed aside by medical personnel
Who have more urgent cases to deal with?
How many tubes in and out
How many burning sensations?
How much weakness such such weakness
And how much wanting to sleep needing to sleep
And being unable to sleep?
How much desiring to desire again
Awareness of my loss of appetite for everything?
How much waking in the middle of the night
Dripping and dripping and dripping?
How much wishing it were over with already?
How much shame,
Shame at myself shame before others?
How much faking it and trying to hide it
How much pretending I am alright?
How much embarrassment at my own slowness
At my holding up everyone?
How much despair at feeling myself in the way everywhere?
How much distress at being a bother to those I most do not want to bother?
How much pettiness at reluctance to spend some sum
I once would have thought nothing of?
How much of feeling a financial burden also?
How many humiliations must I go through before the end comes?
I don’t know
I do know however
I am already angry and afraid and ashamed
And I know no way of getting out of what is certainly to come-
Shalom Freedman's Other Poems
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