C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

Birthday Wishes

By: 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, attentive. Someone outside, worrying about the garage repair. 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.

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