Double SATB choir and narrator. May 2015. Commissioned by the Willamette Master Chorus under the direction of Paul Klemme for their concert, Celebrating Life. Text is by Don Colburn.
First I tell the patient who I am
and why I’m calling, why me
instead of the oncologist who’s out of town.
I talk slowly, but try not to sound
grave. I make sure she’s at home
or somewhere she can talk, and not alone.
Then I take a deep breath, and start to break
the news. But not like it was breaking news.
Except it is – to them it always is.
I can’t just hate that part – the messenger –
because it matters so. Whatever they hear
I want it to leave room for hope. The only way
is to remember there’s this Brenda
on the other end, who could be me.