By Lynn Glicklich Cohen
A doctor’s waiting room—where
everyone who came in after you
is called first—is a fine place to
inspect the quality of your mind.
There you may discover the difference
between how you have been and how
you would like to be. The hunched elder
emerges after his exam, sliding walker,
dragging feet, first right, then left, grinning—
in spite of, because of, to cajole, or annoy—
his able-bodied wife, who waits, her face flat
with impatience, several feet ahead.
Oh, how she despises who he has become,
her once-dashing professor, perhaps, or
sought-after surgeon, formidable father,
now a barely moving, sloughing skeleton
of himself. He sings, “‘Wait for me,
wait for me, Johnny please wait for me!’”
Winking, letting his audience know
he is still, in this way at least, in charge.
She offers no smile, having heard it,
and now simply cannot bear his
performance—such a good attitude!—
against her undisguisable contempt.
Long after they exit, you remain waiting,
wondering: Were you her, would you be
wishing for his demise—your freedom—
or a heart that could join him in song?
Lynn Glicklich Cohen lives in Milwaukee, WI, where she write poems, plays the cello, feeds birds, walks her dog, and forever hopes for the best.