voice that made you believe
in troubadours, in bards: a baritone
that lifted his lines, lifted his life
to the silent crowds...
it wasn't the sterlized hallways,
or the white nurses
shushing you in, and it wasn't
the drawn blinds, the cool dusk,
the blindfold over his eyes, or even
the lingering grip
of the final handclasp...
took the light out of the room
was the thing that wasn't there:
there was no voice -
none of that timbre and color,
no rich lingering resonance, the voice
that was somehow always in your grateful ears.
The voice had gone on before him.
Appleman is published by HarperCollins. His books include Let
There Be Light, Darwin's Ark and Apes and Angels.