A Poem About Pain

By David Budbill

I can feel myself slipping away, fading away, withdrawing
from this life, just as my father did. When the pain you’re in

is so great you can’t think about or pay attention to anything
but your own pain, the rest of the world and all other life

don’t matter.

I think about my friends with dementia, cancer, arthritis, and
how much more pain they are in than I am, but it does no good,

their pain is not mine, and therefore, no matter how magnanimous
I might want to be, their pain is not as important to me as my own.

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