What's One More Machine?

By Jonathan Weinkle, MD

A response to a news item about Dan Chen’s Last Moment Robot

What’s one more machine, when you’re already surrounded?
At least this one doesn’t suffuse you with electricity when your heart tries to stop at last
What’s one more machine, among all of the others?
This one doesn’t come attached to a tube that silences what little voice you have left
What’s one more machine, on top of everything else?

So long as it doesn’t drown you in food that you cannot taste and your body can’t use

What’s wrong with this machine, worse than any of the rest?
The soothing voice, the caressing touch, the way it does what people should do best
It knows your name, refuses to blame the painful absence of your family
On anything at all, only saying that they love you very much
The empty room, the empty gesture, just proving what you knew

When it came time to die, you’d be alone

What do we expect, when we run from death, stare through dying
As if it doesn’t exist, will never happen, can be overruled?
The dead and the living all agree – they’ve been abandoned
By doctors who are ashamed, by family who can’t find words
By a world that “couldn’t handle” seeing them fall where they once stood

At home, with the faces and voices and smells and hands they loved

What’s wrong with this machine, just like all the others?
When they breathe for us, eat for us, pee for us, beat our hearts for us,
It still doesn’t feel like life
With life about to end, how well do we think it can love for us?

That might not feel like anything at all

Written by robots= on June 7th, 2012 at
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