Emerald City

I was admiring,
the beautiful city space where you tend to your medicine.
The ivory towers, I circled round and round the other day.

It was a cold and perfect fall morning,
early enough for the sky to be an intense ammonia blue,
windy enough to be blowing up white swabs of soothing clouds,
and the sun was slanted enough,
to be turning the towering stack on the corner of Francis St. and Brookline Ave.,
into gold.

I walked the blocks in concentric circles,
trying to see which buildings might offer a view
of the giant rooftop washtubs, dropping great umbrellas of steam
over doctors, nurses, patients hurrying bundled by.
How do I get in to see Oz?

I walked up by the marbled and pillared
Harvard research buildings,
nearly as dusty and quiet outside as Greek ruins,
hugging the earth like white turtles.

I wandered back behind
the giant gray corncobs of Brigham and Women's Hospital,
wondered at curtains askew, like missing teeth.

Cameraless, passportless,
without rope or crampons,
I couldn't get to the heights,
I couldn't reach the canopy of the medical forest.
I walked out from the dark forest floor
to get warmed up in the sunshine
pouring into Longwood Avenue.

- Holly W. Graves, 2002

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