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I have made the conscious choice
to never forget what it feels like
to be taken care of by someone

I’ve earned a PhD
in independence
and a black belt
in the martial art
of basic survival
I’ve become an expert
in taking care of me
When I’m sick
I arrange
for my own replacement
at the office
ahead of time
bring my own ass
to the doctor
pay for my prescription
with my own money
and wind up alarm clocks
so that I take
my meds on time

Right now it feels like the flu
and nobody knows but me.
I’m all alone at 8pm
at an expensive restaurant
on 31st Street
having cream of corn soup
and hot tea with honey and lemon
waiting for my 9pm appointment
at the hospital across the street.

It would be nice
to look up
and look into
eyes who can see
that I am not well
a man who would know
that I am ill
and tell me
to get some rest
and skip work for the day tomorrow
I probably won’t listen to him
and still go in the morning
only to realize at noon
I’m too sick to keep going
I’ll call him
and he’ll drop what he’s doing
drive by my building
to pick me up
short of carrying me
in his arms
and say, “I told you so”

and he’ll tuck me into bed
and kiss me
on the forehead
and make me cream of corn soup
and hot tea with honey and lemon

* * *

I promised myself
I won’t forget
or stop believing
I deserve it