So good to be loved even though I may be dying

since black and blue blemishes popped out like little

purple crocuses in March; I was sleeping when an invisible

meteor perforated me, shocked beyond belief when Doc

said I might have leukemia, blood tests confirmed

a tongue twisting catastrophe: an acute granulocytic malady.

Soon: chemo and bone marrow transplant.

The monotony of hoarse voices falsely assuring

me, visitors grieving before I’m gone,

wondering after a while: “Ain’t he dead yet?”

In a feverish reverie I reach over for you who are no longer

there, triggering vivid flashbacks of our courtship days,

how my arm would grow numb with pins and needles when you

fell asleep as I embraced you, lost as I was in the adoration of your

slumbering face, remembering how when getting ready to take you out

I would brush my teeth twice, slather myself with Old Spice, plaster

my hair in place with Wildroot, thoroughly douse with deodorant

and spit shine my shoes with a glow not seen since my platoon

was inspected by the company commander.

If only I could come calling just one more time with a big red rose

between my teeth like a Spanish Conquistador. "To be young is very heaven."

Sequestered in a room with no way out I think of Thoreau:

“Speech is for the convenience of the hard of hearing.”

Now there is nothing more to say, just hold my hand while it’s still

warm as I amuse myself remembering a childhood ditty:

“The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, they crawl in your nose

and out of your mouth.” I hope I’ll become fertile soil for a huge field

of wildflowers, a phalanx of tulips in spring and a meadow of

Queen Anne’s lace quivering in a summer breeze like tender twittering girls with flowing hair,

frolicking in the sun like flocks of chickadees and bobolinks, and maybe a small

patch of poison ivy to snag one or two old enemies I was unable to forgive.

Though I am voiceless I hear your tearful tribute;

how rare to be regarded with such earnest love,

sending me off on an adventure I never had before.

M.P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J. 07605