Stories About Bill

the ways he inspired us

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From Mark Smith

Letter to Bill

I sat for a while this afternoon

and stared out at the rain

pummeling my deck 

and streaming down

the murky window pane.

The amber leaves of the maple tree

above the rooftop next door

are finally letting go.

Twisting and turning

in the blustery wind,

one by one they detach

and silently swirl away.

I miss the glacially slow way

you poured pinot noir

and savored each gourmet bite

as we shared our most intimate thoughts 

one man Black, the other white.

We managed our hospital clinic together

and processed our private lives

through separation, divorce,

our teenagers’ strife

and when you finally came out.

But gradually, your failing heart

inched life’s rheostat down

until your quality of life was on the edge

and you knew it was time to let go.

I valued those nights out with you

sharing dreams and bold ideas

but mostly I miss 

your deep, belly laugh

raucous and full of life.

Mark Smith, MD

February 10, 2021