"In the depth of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an   

invincible summer." --Albert Camus



A friendly store employee walked briskly by smiling 

with no arms attached to shoulders, striding forth 

stalwart as a limbless tree. 

Stunned with a thunk in my gut, awed by his helplessness, 

not ever able to touch someone, feed himself, scratch an itch, 

brush his teeth or wipe his butt.


Leaving the store I thought of Xmas cards I buy each year, 

watercolor scenes and dreams by artists who paint 

with their mouths. 

A deceased teaching colleague, a diabetic who went blind,   

lost both legs but showed up for work, only a stump,

he'd joke.

I’ve pangs for my wheelchair-bound brother, paralyzed 

by a brain tumor, yet happily grateful he got to travel 

to  Katmandu, Kyoto and Machu-Pichu while he still could. 

My friend Lou appreciates his remaining sight he still has

as macular degeneration will soon rob him of his vision. 

Why do Herpes patients kill themselves more often 

than those with unthinkable infirmities? 

No one knows how they will react until tested, there are 

no Kaplan courses to prepare you. 

As for myself, when and if I will be challenged,   

will I fold or become another ordinary hero?


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