Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Blue Changes

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Blue Changes

Article excerpt

Channel, brook, stream-call It a river

that flows past the hospital

in different shades and seasons of blue,

glittering in noonday sun.

Then a sudden change.

Yesterday he was alive. Today he's dead.

He seems to be more alive now that he's dead:

a continuous transition, one flowing river

twisting and turning, meandering through change.

Some days we gazed out at it from the hospital

solarium, basking sleepily in the sun.

Right up until the end I took that blue

gaze for granted. One day: no more blue,

not where that came from. Once a person is dead,

they no longer see the light of the sun.

He's standing on the far bank of the river.

Tiny as a dollhouse now, the hospital

is no longer home. I turn to face the change.

There is no way to anticipate the change

flooding from anger red to twilight blue.

One August afternoon in the hospital

from the room across the hall they wheeled a dead

person. That day the photogenic river

was a regatta: sailboats, sparkling sun.

Mysterious adjustments out of the sight of the sun:

The current flowing toward the harbor changes

its mind. …

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