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A Poem by a Member

Spring 2005

My mother and I are given careful instructions
on how to hasten her death.
Once you stop drinking, it's only a matter of days.
When I was a boy, I was so frail
I could barely walk up a flight of stairs.
Dr. Turnauer told my mother to force me to eat:
Try anything. Raw egg yolks in chocolate milk.
I can still see my mother separating the yolk
from the egg white until she only had the yellow center
back in its cracked shell,
the albumen dripping reluctantly into the porcelain sink.
She would drop the yolk into the dark brown liquid
and beat it as hard as she could,
then hold up the container to see if the yolk had disappeared
but it was elusive, the light always detecting
the yellowish wisps that would help me survive.

"Thirst" originally appeared in 88, A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry, Issue 1 (Hollyridge Press, 2001) and A Girl Eating Oysters (2 River, 2005).

Send your original Voices contribution to: Editor, Compassion & Choices, P.O. Box 101810, Denver, CO 80250 or

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This article was provided by Compassion & Choices. It is a part of the publication Compassion & Choices Magazine.