Birthday Wishes

Stuart M. Terman

Driving east this afternoon to visit.

We last hugged at the Cedar-Green BP station.

Arrived simultaneously, coincidentally.

She was home to see her mother, asked

me to call if in town.

Asked me twice.


Between the busy gasoline pumps

we stopped, staring longer than average.

She recognized my thin frame and

introduced me to her handsome husband in

their car with the New York license plates.

We used to walk together, the world a

blur in the distance.

Like now.


I-90 bustle,

Then past Dunkirk, Greece, local places with

faraway names.

Across the Genesee River at night to my hotel

nearby for a planned conference.

The riverbank and Main St.; 2 o clock pause.

August sounds, forceful currents.

The pedestrian ‘Y’ bridge.

Wooden benches, walkers,

thinkers in unison.


Statue of Mercury just upstream,

over her office.  Reaching or possibly just pointing.

Spaghetti dinner at her home?

The invitation given during our lunch date.

I hid my surprise as she carefully drew the directions

just for me.


I rise to leave, carefully observed.

The sun settles during the trip out from the city.

Map on my dash and a white Toyota to follow

from the downtown buildings.

Heading home with the evening crowd.


Prago and garlic bread.

An alert child in the living room wanders

towards her 3rd birthday cake.

I read ‘Peter Rabbit’ out loud.

A cheery guest suddenly upon my lap,


Someone outside, worrying about the garage



Darker out.  The sun

reluctant to leave.

Clouds burching north to Lake Ontario

while we eat.  Quick glances,

brown and blue eyes mix again, like

our instant coffee, sugar.

An uncertain exit with goodbyes to

the spouse who retires indoors.


We hold hands by my car as

I get in.  The small one beams through the

screen door.

Sunset arrives as the Earth quietly spins;

we don’t feel it although we should since it’s so big.

Our voices in the dusk almost unheard.

A few quiet kisses.  Car keys, backup lights.

“Please come visit..”

Loveliest evening star now guiding me back

to my own home.

Stuart M. Terman is a physician, previously Assistant Clinical Professor/Ophthalmology/Case Western Reserve in his home city of Cleveland/private practice/Ocular Surgery Attending Cleveland Veterans Administration Hospital from 2000 through 2009, and now retired. He is married with four children and five delightful grandchildren.

He has had publications in a Medical/Surgical/Ocular Journals,

including the 'Annals of Plastic Surgery', the 'Annals of Ophthalmology', and the 'Consultant for Pediatricians', among a number of others over the past 40 years.