A tumor the size of a football.
The fluid starts to build up in her belly
and she has to lie down on the crackling paper
to watch it pump out into dozens of glass bottles,
but at the end she is weightless, shaking out her wet wings.
Her daughter is there to hold her elbow,
and together they pick up the prescription at CVS,
place it in a nightstand drawer for now.
When it’s time, she swills down the self-killing fluid and thinks aloud,
“The room is swirling. This is so easy.
This should be so easy for everyone. Mama.”
Then the camera turns to the shadows
on the curtains and we understand that she is silent
because she is dead.
You are not only convinced, you are a convert.
After watching this documentary,
you seek out stories on NPR about palliative care
find one about how, in Uganda, women with breast cancer
scream in their huts alone, not knowing about morphine
unless they live in the city or near a clinic
and another one about training American doctors to
be more compassionate. What are they so scared about?
Addiction and abuse, they say.
You see yourself
with a crate of signatures, your hands bloody with paper cuts.
In the car on the way home from work
you daydream about a bad diagnosis,
decide to move to Oregon
now, before it’s too late, or
if that’s impossible, how you’d locate
some punk teenager to sell you heroin, just in case
You need some relief from the pain,
You see your sister and mother (two doctors)
fighting with you over Right to Die until
you couldn’t speak anymore.
You shuffled signed petitions waving in their faces.
Until the day you died you’d wonder
how crazy stubborn the other could get
over such a clear moral choice.
–Art by Mustafa Dedeoğlu