Thursday, September 27, 2007

Alene Terzian: The Blue Period

For my uncle, Maurice

I decorate your room with Japanese art—
lotus blossoms and cherry trees; over you,

one IV drips chemo into small veins; other lines
crisscross, and you are a Picasso, distended

and overstated; I wait each day for results.
The nurses know to tip toe around news,

use healthy words like remission, but I hear
the pity, dripping into those lines, each one

killing and saving you. I can do nothing
but hang pictures and get well cards, collage

your room in color. In one photograph, you
paint a sky on canvas, and I am two years old,

at your feet, waiting. Now, I walk the halls
in Oncology, listen outside each door—vapid

breath and beeping monitors, the steady chatter of death.
In my dreams, I write your eulogy, watch the congregation

at your wake: and there you are, the man in the photograph,
painting a sky the same shade of blue each time.

Copyright Alene Terzian. Used here by kind permission of the author.

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