Close the Door When You Leave

Commissioned for dedication of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Healing Arts Program, October 19, 2000
Michael Hayes Samuelson

Close the Door When You Leave

I never asked you to visit … at least I don’t believe I did
Maybe…I don’t know
It’s so confusing

At any rate, you’re a rude guest
You take my energy, rob my sleep, and with a stick
You swirl and distort my dreams

All right, you are here — for now
But understand
There are two places that are forever off limits

You may not tread on my spirit
You may not occupy my soul

I have heard of your visits to others
I know the damage you leave in your path
The wanton disregard for innocence, value, and what some would call fairness

Also, I hear that laughter confuses you; that good foods make you feel bad, and
That nothing causes you more distress than an autumn sunset, the forever blue of a
summer sky,
Or the unconditional radiance of a child’s smile

Listen and understand
You might pilfer my closets, empty all the drawers, and trash my house
But there are two places forever off limits

You may not tread on my spirit
You may not occupy my soul

Do not mistake my nausea, weakness, and pain as signs of your victory
They are simply small dents in the armor I wear to fight you
Instead, look deeply into my eyes

They will once again remind you that there are two places forever off limits

You must not…
May not…
Will not tread on my spirit

You must not…
May not…
Will not occupy my soul

Copyright © 2000 by Michael Hayes Samuelson
Author of “Voices from the Edge: Life Lessons from the Cancer Community”
Longstreet Press, http://www.TheNationalCenter.com

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