A DEATH IN CAMBRIDGE
School was out, a fall day heading toward Thanksgiving.
A jukebox played Springsteen, a chatty waitress hummed along.
I sat at the counter with a classmate eating burgers and fries.
Suddenly, he's on the floor, eyes rolled back --
unconscious, seems to stop breathing, turns blue!
Silence, everyone frozen -- it seems forever,
then soft murmur of whispers.
Two EMTs rush in, place him on a stretcher.
"Is he...?" I ask.
"What do you think?" one snaps at me,
as they remove the body.
I walked out, wandered through Cambridge streets.
A train rumbled by on Longfellow Bridge.
In the distance, the rhythmic call
of a coxswain on the river.
Overhead, a 'V' of geese flew by.
Richard Bronson is on the Board of the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. He is on the faculty of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care & Bioethics at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University.