Woman in the Waiting Room

Hands clasped tight in my lap
I watch the child crying in the corner
while the mother tuts and coos
and the old man coughs
that old man cough of
clogged lungs and
failing heart

The incongruous laughter
leaching from the back room
is an insult
as a scruffy teenager sniffs
on the too close chair beside me

I study the ebbing of life
in the clock face
I can smell disease
feel it spreading
seeping in through my skin
I dare not fidget
for fear of contamination

People leave clutching their
life lines
I hope for one too
A pain easer
A mood lifter
A miracle
but when they call my name
despair drips
onto those clasping hands

 

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