University of Toronto
Class of 2018
An etiolated octogenarian calls out,
Barely audible beyond his room.
He beckons for a small sponge
To wet his cracked blue lips.
Pictures of his family are taped to his closet,
A makeshift fifty square foot home.
Though he once sat at his desk,
Under the pale light from a tired bulb.
Fragments of pigmented dust swept to the floor.
He hewed rock with minuscule clippers,
And cursed with atavistic rage, on occasion.
The subtle talents which go unnoticed.
His mind, a heated iron thrust into ice cold water.
Do thoughts still pass its electrical threshold?
Incandescent beams of vibrant colours
Inspire and illuminate. No more,
His craft dulled, muted, frozen, faint.
A strangely refulgent cycle is life.
The grass, lush, strewn with hidden pebbles
transported from a road nearby.
I seek shade under a bridge on a torpid June day.
Hidden, partly buried in the earth,
an object attracts my gaze.
It is a blue ceramic tile,
cut in the shape of a square.
I wrote this piece to commemorate five years since the passing of my paternal grandfather. A family man, humble, with an artist’s temperament, he used to spend nights at his drawing table creating mosaics from coloured tiles. I was at his bedside moments before he passed away from multiple strokes. The experience was one that shaped my journey in medicine.