Royal Blue

October 8, 2013

I never take calls when I'm with a patient, except today when the phone rings from Boston-liver mets on his scan, biopsy tomorrow...

I never take calls when I’m with a patient

except today when the phone rings from Boston-

liver mets on his scan, biopsy tomorrow.

Yet he’s happy to be alive, walking down

cobblestone streets scented with smoke

from roasted chestnuts and baking bread,

a street musician on the corner singing

Leonard Cohen, students sipping coffee

and thumbing cell phones in restless cafes.

He feels wind in hair that grew back,

and he is heading for the harbor where

sailboats tack and noon sky glows royal blue.

And he wants to know how the autumn

hills at home look from the window

that framed our first view of his diagnosis.

We both cried that day and I’m crying now,

telling him I’m sorry, telling him October

Mountain burns scarlet, the Berkshire sky

empty and serene, nothing but royal blue.