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Waiting room

February 3, 2014

I took another break from blogging, and this was due to a loved one’s surgery and hospital stay. Thankfully, graciously, this went well, and I am deeply grateful for good doctors and nurses. This past weekend, I was able to reflect on my time in the hospital’s waiting room and drew an illustration and wrote a couple of poems. The second one has whimsical moments, which felt odd in parts to write, but which captures my relief that all did go well. I’m sure I wouldn’t have written the poem this way if the past week had gone differently.

I should be able to post stuff more regularly. I still have material in my archive, of things done and half done and one-third done. I’ve missed posting on my blog and reading others’ blog posts, so it will be good to return to these. I hope all is well with you.

Man sits on a couch in a hospital waiting room


The Waiting Room (Before I Read a Lewis Carroll Poem)

The New Yorker in the hospital’s
waiting room is several months old,
and I’ve read the poem on a middle page
several times, but it still makes
no sense to me. It feels as a puzzle
locked in the top drawer of a
modernist desk in the apartment
on the seventy-ninth floor in a
skyscraper in Manhattan that’s
famed for its architecturally clean lines.

More sensical to me is the
poem before me, the poem of
these various people resting
on couches in this room,
their backs arched forward
or sloped back and sunk
in the sofa cushion, the air heavy
with our worried wait.


The Waiting Room (After I Read a Lewis Carroll Poem)

Couches waited for us
in the waiting room,

Faces of friends help
to dispel the gloom,

Sunlight bursts through windows,
ensuring this is no tomb.

The elevator’s a little
metal moving womb

Birthing us at the cafeteria,
where we consume,

Slowly, slowly, the chocolate
pudding and soup of mushroom.

Then back to waiting,
when all we can do is fume.

Finally, the doctor
approaches us in a loom,

And gives us happy news,
we receive in a relieved bloom

That we carry with us as
we depart the place in a careful zoom.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2014 9:08 am

    I’m glad to hear that your family member is doing well after the surgery. Thanks for sharing the drawing and your poems. I really dig that first one. I think it captures both the anxious and curious nature of waiting in a very tangible way.

  2. February 3, 2014 11:50 am

    So glad that your family member had successful surgery…your observation in the waiting room parallel my own recent experiences.

    • February 3, 2014 4:59 pm

      I very much hope your loved one is well, too, from your experiences in the waiting room.

  3. February 3, 2014 2:27 pm

    Best to those cared for and for those who wait.
    Made much happier by good news.
    Be well and take all the time you need.
    May you all gallop strongly in the Chinese New Year of the Horse!

    • February 3, 2014 5:00 pm

      A wonderful comment, Jules — thanks for these words. I love the galloping into the new year!

  4. February 3, 2014 3:30 pm

    Love the first one. You capture the waiting so well. I believe that humor and whimsy has its place. I can tell you that the oncologist waiting room is often a kick. Sometimes humor is the best medicine.

    • February 3, 2014 5:02 pm

      Thank you. Seeing humor in things can be helpful to me, as it relieves some of the stress. And that is very good medicine. I’ve often thought that having a sore stomach from laughing a lot is a great way to feel better from many things. Your stomach is sore, but your spirits have been lifted.

      • February 3, 2014 7:18 pm

        Not just your stomach. I’ve laughed so hard I had to hold my head, my scalp hurt, tears streaming. That’s the best.

  5. Sue permalink
    February 28, 2014 12:01 pm

    so beautifully stated – it moved me to tears. yes, i too am relieved and happy to hear that your loved one is doing well. i sometimes believe the one waiting bears the heavier burden.

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