While I was preparing
for my Science Fair project,
busily freezing turtles,
insects, and plants,
you were busy dying.
Mr. Vest and your physician began CPR,
packed you in ice on the hospital bed.
It is something of an understatement
to describe Nelson as a pathological liar
and an outright fraud. You would
certainly have perished at Chatsworth
with the nine patients whom Nelson
allowed to thaw out and decompose.
You, of course, do not know me at all.
Sometime in the June of 1973
I walked into the cavernous
industrial bay of Galiso, Inc.
The unit containing you sat out
on the shop floor amid the clutter
of uncompleted dewars and test equipment,
covered with a heavy layer
of ubiquitous Southern California dust.
This was our first meeting.
So much happened between 1982 and now.
On the other side of the flimsy “wood” paneled wall
(there were open studs on the side where you rested),
we were washing out the blood of dogs
and cooling them down to a few degrees.
I cannot describe the feeling of elation
when I peeled back the sleeping bag and saw
that you appeared intact and well cared for.
Ruby was cremated a few days after
her death. It appears that where immediate
family is concerned, you will be making
the journey into tomorrow alone.
Dr. Bedford, I hope we really meet someday.
I am not sure we will have much in common,
But we will have the joy, the sheer,
unbounded joy of being alive in a universe
where we can move freely, unchained
from the bonds of gravity, earth, and time.
(From Dear Dr. Bedford, July 1991)
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