Do Not Resuscitate

Specific instructions

legalese on a preprinted form

            stowed in a dresser drawer.

On the small pad the nurse placed by your bed

your hand    unsteady   spells out

            What happened to me?

The EMTs didn’t wait for the form

they had their instructions.

            No discussion.

You were so adamant

please    no tubes   no machines.

            The words stuffed down your throat.

I stroke your hand   skin thin as tissue

carry on our one-sided conversation

            dog is fine    grandkids miss you

and struggle with words that stick in my throat

like tomorrow

            next week.

Bonnie Wehle’s work has been published in Coal Hill Review, River Heron Review, Heron Tree Literary Journal, Red Rock Review, Sky Islands Journaland elsewhere. Her chapbook, A Certain Ache: Poems in Women’s Voices, was published in 2022 by Finishing Line Press. Bonnie lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her dog Tillie. She serves as a docent at University of Arizona Poetry Center and facilitates a monthly poetry circle with the county library.