WHEN IS THE TIME

Waiting room with walls
papered in red and gray.
Doors open to other rooms where
life is measured by X-rays.
Diagnosis pronounced
after payment is made.

When the mind is strong
who will kill the body
for the soul to fly?

Yellow skin, tinged orange by Benedictine.
Monitors on wall flash in blips green.
Wires, red and black,
plastic tubing, blue and clear
connect him to machines.
His arm drinks for him.

Who is ready to let the soul leave
when the body is weak?
Who is to decide
when he cannot speak?

- Bernard Otterman