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Green Bananas

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Green Bananas

“Well, I wouldn't buy green bananas,” is how the oncologist answered his question.
He tells me this in the first minutes of our first hospice visit.
As I leave, he asks if I could pick him up some cheap cigarettes next time.

In Vietnam, his post was 5 miles from the fighting.
“5 packs a day to kill the boredom. And 2 a night to kill the rest of me.”
His jokes are to put me at ease, I know.

And my job is to comfort, I argue with myself.
Even on death row they get a last request.
Four days later he looks half the size.

“My cigarettes!” he cheers, when I put a grocery bag on the table
with his lighters and two ashtrays overtaken by butts.
He tells me about his life and makes more jokes. He’s a great guy.

I want him to open the bag. He’ll laugh, I hope.
Either way, I’m telling my joke, “I hear they smoked ‘em in the ‘60s man,
in ‘Nam. You’re just going to have to wait ‘til they ripen.”

Michael Mark

Published in Blast Furnace

Submitted by: Michael Mark, a volunteer wtih LightBridge Hospice and Palliative Care
 

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