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The Speak Up blog features essays and poetry by people living with neurologic disorders and their caregivers. Readers can also find letters to the editor.
Friday, April 20, 2012
What Happens Next

Is the dark green canvas, wrapping polished maple,          
Is like a marina, floating gray folding chairs in waves
Over the high school graduation.
Is the pianist, a gymnast, the valedictorian
Who has come to own Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue.”
Is a musician leaving the score to improvise,
Only to return, most unexpectedly.
 
His hands and arms are often bandaged now
Up to the elbows:
Underneath is a crust in places, but a laying on
Of shimmering insects’ wings elsewhere.
Purple islands of ink below,
With their jagged yellow shorelines,
Advance and retreat.
 
His eyes were once blue mirrors
Over airspeed and altimeter readings,
Trusting in the continued, rugged vibration
Of the twin engines and in the winged,
Rippling shadow over the Alaskan ice.
 
Now they are like cornflower sapphires
Inside a streaked and foggy display case,
With wet pearls growing, slowly,
Off center, within.
 
His answer to the question of what he ate for lunch
Is an orange coffee mug dropped on the tile kitchen floor.
His dreams of scuba diving with his twelve-year-old son
Have become the chrome on his red 1940 Ford Coupe
Rusting off the Florida Keys,
Surrounded by black bottles of frosted glass
Covered in patches of coral, still growing.
 
His full medicine tray is craters on a white moon,
Each with its own selected bits
Of yellow, red or turquoise powder, compressed,
Each waiting for the last pill
Of my father’s day.
 
Don W. Boyles
July 2008

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