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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 61

Moonlight Serenade

Charlie was in bed,
tubes attached to his body,
listened to cartoons
on a nineteen-inch screen,
thought of Sophia,
his “Belle of Flatbush.”

When la luna was full,
Charlie used to sing
Moonlight Serenade
outside Sophia’s gate.
They’d slow-dance
to Glenn Miller’s rendition.
He’d relax his rhythm,
hold Sophia closer,
recall how safe she felt.
Her soft brown curls
would drape on his shoulder—
her smoky eyes—
stelle colorate, tinted stars
over a make-believe Brooklyn sky.

His protective hold couldn’t save her
from breast cancer twenty years ago,
their two sons from Viet Nam’s death call,
or their daughter from her husband’s fists.
A massive stroke took Sonny,
his last living friend.
His relatives were either dead
or couldn’t care less.

Charlie was in bed,
tubes attached to his body,
alone—except for routine visits from
the nursing home staff,
wondered if Sophia would be there for him
when he leaves for the morgue.
He hummed Moonlight Serenade,
but a dry cough cut his tune short.
Sadness, age, and high fever
drained his cognition and will to live.
His memory was of the past,
not the present.

He prayed for Death’s visit—
Death would wear a white coat,
walk past the rooms,
make decisions on who’s to come
and who’s to stay.
But Death forgot about him—
perhaps Death’s eyesight was fading
when he came by last week,
took Hector instead.
Tina, his favorite nurse,
no longer visited him—
was in critical condition
due to a new virus going around.

He closed his eyes,
saw Glenn Miller and his band
perform Moonlight Serenade
at the Waldorf Astoria.
Everything was in Technicolor.
Sophia,
radiant and youthful,
rose from her table.
She came closer,
her smoky eyes—
stelle colorate, tinted stars
over a make-believe Brooklyn sky.

By the entrance,
a man in a white coat
checked his clipboard,
greeted Charlie with a smile
and opened the gate.

Patricia Carragon:
March 2020 Brooklyn, NY