Chilled on a stone-cold stainless steel gurney

I felt like an old Eskimo on a bluish-white

ice-floe floating out to sea.

My tremulous body shivered and shook as I

was wheeled into the spectral whiteness

of an amphitheatre featuring masked performers

peering out of magnified eyes. I heard the Jacque Brel

tune ”Ne me quitte pas, ne me quitte pas,”

I’d heard before rushing down from the farm

on a steamy Labor Day, hurrying to the hospital

on Kips Bay to see my father on his last day.

With valium engendered glazed eyes I gazed

at a slender probe, an impalpably minute fiber

snaking its way through a red rivulet

clearing the way like a snowplow in a Robert Frost

winter long after the honeygold apples have been

picked and put away.

A titanium stent was inserted, a tiny scaffold shielding me

from heavenly days. Leonardo would have been proud

of this engineering feat guaranteeing my vessel’s flow,

now gushing along as freely as the Columbia River

in Spring when spawning salmon almost skip over the water

as they race out to sea.

Now I’m a new Stentorian like Stentor the Greek

who fought hard, a hero in the Trojan War.

I’ll live long, loud and strong like Stentor,

who Homer claimed had the voice of fifty men.

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