Something Whimsical

In those six months, I learned a new way to drive,
my eyes focused hard upon the road, vigilant

for dips or bumps that might jar my passenger,
my husband Paul, whose cancer pain by then

so great, even oxycodone couldn't mask it.
On a bright July day, we made one last excursion

to the movies—a matinee something
we hardly ever did, but so much changes.

We chose the whimsical Forrest Gump
still hoping Norman Lear was right about

the healing power of laughter. We drove
to Northside Mall, a Cinemart, so rinky-dink

we'd always shunned it. But at 1 p.m.
empty, quiet & no one would see us.

I loved Tom Hanks as Gump, the dignity
he gave that role. Football hero, ping-pong champ,

Medal of Honor, millionaire, teaching Elvis
to swivel his hips, meeting John Lennon on Cavett.

We'd lived that era, Vietnam, Flower Power.
So magical to see that bittersweet world

through Gump's innocence. As though we were
innocent & young again.

That was what I felt. No way to know
what Paul was feeling.

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