When I Hear Your Voice, I’m Well.


Here I stand by the Chicago River
Talking to you on the phone
The sun is out but the morning is cold
Lake- crisp-wind helps me breathe.

I tell you how I feel.
The river’s water is emerald green.
Your voice brings me solace.
I tell you of my morning with her.

It is Thanksgiving and I can hear
At the distance on State Street
The happy voices and cheerful music
Rushing towards me like deadly shrapnel of what I lack.

You are in the Tropics preparing holiday’s meal
I’m here in the wind.


Here I stand by the Chicago River
Calling you my dear. The sun reflects
On the deep green river like fish scales.
I left you a message—you called back.

Half past nine in the morning
The Great Lake blows fresh cool air;
In gratitude my lungs expand.
When I hear your voice I’m well.

We don’t get many chances my dear
And Chronos statue on the clock across
The river on Wacker Drive
Spills time, spells names.

Where are you now? You asked
The answer is painful, long, and obscure my dear.


Here I stand by the Chicago River
By the stone bridge calling you my dear.
The river seems to run in reverse to the lake;
But it’s only the wind’s steering—deeply, nothing reverses.

Where are you now? You asked
A question I constantly ponder my dear.
Although I don’t tell you, you know:
Laments upon laments torment me.

You said I should have gone alone.
Your voice is my anchor my solace.
Your pure simplicity humbles me.
This business I’m in is not for cowards.

In the taxi to the airport the driver asked: do you have family or friends here?
The answer is painfully short, wherever the road is, my dear.

Writer:  Dr. Ehud Sela
Location:  River Esplanade

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