POEM V: “In The Waiting Room”

There is no good poetry written there,
under the corner-mounted television.
Trying to ignore “Days of Our Lives”, you prepare for death right now–
right now the blood clot, right now the heart attack, right now the devouring cancer.

But then
you take a breath and reflect
that after all, you were feeling lucky this morning. And right about then
you get the idea
to write a poem.

A poem, you think. That would be daring,
to snatch a poem from the very brink,
in the very waiting room!

Later, they could look back and say,
she wrote this as she was diagnosed with the very thing that would kill her!
Like Edward R. Murrow,
still broadcasting as the bombs destroyed the city around him,
you will write an aria gritty and immediate,
impossible to ignore.

You could title it “In the Waiting Room.”
And it would be nice to have a memento of you before the diagnosis—
when you could still have sex and eat solid foods.

You want to get laid and eat a carrot right now,
thinking about it. And, as you are thinking about it,
you do not even notice
that the nurse has come out,
and is holding your clipboard,
calling your name,
searching the room for your face.


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