When it Hurts to Stay

Ooooh Babe
Don’t leave me now
Don’t say it’s the end of the road
-from “Don’t Leave Me Now,” by Roger Waters

Hold me down, count my ribs.
Show me my blood
in red and white
Steal my legs
and then my lungs.
Stick in the needle, drain my veins.
Peel back my hair, my skin, my scalp
Burn my flesh
with your tender touch
as you hold my hand and
beg me not to go


This is a 55 word poem inspired by a sad song, as prompted in the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.  I think I’ve veered a bit from the original prompt, but this was what I needed to write today.



23 thoughts on “When it Hurts to Stay

  1. Wow, this is really intense. Been there with a family member who had liver cancer. It really is a matter of weighing the side effects of chemo and radiation, and whether it will really make a difference or just prolong the inevitable. Sometimes allowing someone their dignity and grace, and respecting their personal choice becomes the only real “choice” there is.
    Sending a prayer for the young man and the family who loves him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I had that sense of the poem before the explanation–even with the 55 words that comes through–that terrible difficulty–almost like an embalming-or zombification- pre-death–it isn’t that, but so so sad. Wonderful to manage in 55–such a sober difficult subject. k.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think you veered, but I’m glad you explained the particular background. A fervent poem, white-hot, fitting for such a confronting matter.

    Liked by 1 person

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