I’ll have a bourbon, a double,
and you, a stem of wine, white and dry,
an excellent choice, the sommelier will say.
I’ll cough and wheeze, and wheeze again,
grasp the white linen table cloth,
stare at my empty plate, also white, like my face.
Your muscles will tighten, your heartbeat
steepen, and you’ll say my name.
You’ll ask desperate questions, like—
What’s happening? Are you okay?
Is there something I can do?
Do I need to call a doctor?
I’ll say, “I’m fine,” and “I’ll be fine,”
and, “I’m going be fine,” and you will tell
this story one day and it will be a fine story.
Title adapted from Jackson Browne’s song, “I never thought you’d leave in summer.”