For My 93-Year-Old Father

While washing dishes by a sunny window,
a bubble formed and floated,
hovering near my shoulder, my companion as I worked:

A perfect sphere, unassuming, yet shining with delight,
a rainbow quietly shimmering along its slender curve.

It stayed by me for an impossibly long time in bubble years,
balancing gentleness with iron tensile strength.

As the slight being eventually began to descend, its outline
slowly thinning,
I frantically waved my hand like a magic wand,
conducting invisible incantations of air currents
to prevent it from falling, protect it from hitting an edge.

Three times I stirred the air, desperately altering its rhythms.
Against all odds, the bubble lifted again and again, floating
even more slowly,
stubbornly maintaining the integrity of its fragile sphere.

I never took my eyes off my rainbow bubble for one second,
never saw it pop.

Still somehow it managed to dissolve into thin air.
Where it had been, I saw a vestige
of shining light,
and a gentle sheen of translucent rainbow
suspended without form, near me still.

Geri Fox, M.D.

Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Director of Graduate Medical Education Programming