In memoriam: Dr. Paul Wesley Sartin
February 24, 1989 – July 17, 2022
…part of my mind picked up some of her words
and hid them in a safe corner.
I would like to think I chose these words.
But Paul Sartin did not choose sepsis.
He did not choose a ruptured colon,
nor the membrane wrapped too tightly
around a weak and strangled haustrum.
He did not choose the aching nausea
which led him to call in sick at work.
He did not even choose the salmonella
he mistakenly thought he contracted.
He did not choose a palpitating heart.
He did not choose the faltering breath,
nor lonely death on his washroom floor,
delirious and ragged as the fever raged
and bacteria won the war with his brain.
No, the sepses—fevers, words—choose us.
We cannot discount those which bring pain
nor credit ourselves when they yield joy.
Nafisi is wrong. We have no agency here.
We do not safely stash anything in corners
where they already lurk to take us unawares.