To a door between sleep and death I hold the key.

Like soiled clothes before a bath you’ll shed your pain,

Stripped to a cotton gown and tagged with your ID,

Which, while you can, I ask you to repeat to me.

“This will relax you,” I say as needle enters vein.

To a door between sleep and death I hold the key.

Those words you’ll keep. What you hear and see

Next will disappear like water down a drain.

Stripped to a cotton gown and tagged with your ID.

That’s what we want, to deaden all your faculty

Of knowing—isolate the body from the brain.

To a door between sleep and death I hold the key.

But the threshold’s narrow, and inadvertently

Sometimes a paralyzed awareness will remain,

Stripped to a cotton gown and tagged with your ID.

From far away you witness the body’s agony,

Spared from sharing it, released from sense’s chain.

To a door between sleep and death I offer you the key,

Stripped to a cotton gown and tagged with your ID.