Jim Derksen

I am not ashamed, have learned not to be,
of my body, being different  in shape and function:
large head and stomach, crooked fingers,
thin arms and legs.

I am not embarrassed to ask for help:
to cut the meat on my plate, put on my clothes,
wash my body, lift me in and out of bed,
on and off the toilet, wipe my bum - all things I know
I can no longer do.

Is that the blood smell of death being
stirred up by your offers of "dignity"
and fear-proof, pain-free endings?

I will not go away, and will not die to reassure you.
Not to humor your illusions of how we are, or should be,
nor to satisfy your advertising images, or your cold Convenience.
I will not die for your fantasies.

You fearful, desperately unwilling learners,
I will teach you the complex immensity
of our so common
true humanity.

I am not afraid to invite my lovers
to spoon or climb to ride on top of me,
naturally, dancing to crescendo
in our potent, most lovely

(IN THE DEATH RESISTANCE was originally published in Geez magazine.)