by James R. Dennis, O.P.
Tonight, I don’t want to sit with the dying anymore.
I do not want to watch their families or see the struggle in their eyes.
I cannot bear to walk across another glossy, antiseptic hospital floor.
Tonight, I do not want to pray for those who have been lost anymore.
I do not want to try and out-ride the black cares that chase me through the night.
I do not want to find myself falling into some broken-hearted trap door.
Tonight, I do not want to pray for the unthinkable, to beseech against long odds.
I do not want to kneel, or to take up the heavy string of beads.
I do not want to wonder whether heaven spurns or heaven nods.
Tonight, I do not want to know about the tumor’s metastasis or reduction.
I do not want to hold a hand, or swear a curse in the parking lot.
I do not want to think about the silent grave’s seduction.
Tonight, I do not want to listen to the breathing as the lungs begin to fill,
or the chatter in the hallways as the wishes of the patient and the family are weighed. But tomorrow, despite my clumsy tongue and artlessness, tomorrow I will.
(c) James R. Dennis
Used by permission