(This poem merely expresses my opinion for my own life, not a rule of thumb for other people).

Medical Prevention

I smoke, subtracting 11 minutes

of life for each cigarette.

In a decade or so I'll stock up on booze.

They tell middle aged people

how to cheat time: exercise, diet,

test after medical test to check this or that.

I've seen the future a little too personally:

old age and sickness shrinking one's life

to a single darkened room,

or forgetting one's family and even one's self,

or the man who shot himself

rather than go a nursing home.

I was young enough to think him crazy, then.

I wish I could see a vet rather than a doctor,

a simple shot given when the quality of life

becomes unlivable. Pets have it better.

Death isn't the worst thing;

Sometimes it's a friend.