A tribute.

On his first day of college,
he held his tray in a crowded cafeteria,
eyed the room for a safe spot.
Ah, an open seat, three coeds
and one other guy,
strangers to each other
so he fit in.
He sat down with the guy on one side,
a slim blonde girl on the other.
His eyes focused on his tray,
on his uninteresting food,
which he began to pick at,
finally glanced next to him into the eyes of the blonde,
the beautiful, sparkling blue eyes
that chose to gaze in his for forty years.

More than beauty,
a startling painter,
a teacher of craft, 
specialized in blue
as if her blue eyes were her palette, 
indigo, azure, turquoise, cobalt, robin’s egg…
sad and happy blue, 
world-wide galleries. 
No blue marriage though,
twins, world trips to historic forests, 
hearts knotted.

Years later, as the disease slowly
discolors her mind,
he holds her frail hand,
looks into her eyes,
the blue replaced by a cloud of gray,
no spark, not even an ember.
Finally, he releases the hand 
too weak to grasp back
shuffles down the hall of the Unit,
his broken heart 
more full of love 
than it was at that table
long ago.  

Originally published in Ariel Chart