Last request from an Illinois boy

I was born in Urbana on Orchard Street,

The hospital, Carle, was then quite small:

A three-story building of yellow brick,

The first of four brothers, and that was all.

My Mother was Char, my Dad was Bob

away at war, though a Pacifist he.

In ‘42, to avoid the Draft,

He joined the SeaBees, the Navy

Guys who built the docks, airfields–

Alaska, even Hawaii.

After the war they lived in town

From house to house, till number three

Was 1306 South Orchard street.

My happy high school years were there,

My first fast car, my first slow girl…

My friends were from the band or choir,

Although I grew to six foot eight

And stumbled playing basketball.

I started writing poems then:

Love yelps, or sonnets for the school

Assignments Mrs. Hewett gave.

Now decades past, I still will write

My last request in doggerel.

V-mails from Dad to Mom would cite

His love for us in poetry.

So if the cost is not too great,

Send me to die on Orchard Street.

Carle Hospital has grown to eight

Or ten or 12 facilities.

Perhaps they’ll have a room for me

To breathe my last in my home town.

Like poetry, it’s symmetry.

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