The Waiting Room

This is the place where families cross their legs

And stare, sightless, at unobtrusive art.

This is the place where every minute drags

Like a dead body heaved onto a cart.

A mother clasps her hands, as if in prayer,

Then bows her head and curses quietly.

A husband thinks that if he’d just seen more

His wife would not have needed surgery.


Death breathes upon these souls who wait in need

Of angels wearing scrubs to proffer grace.

All wait alone, and none are reassured

By memories of a loved one’s pleading face.

In purgatory they await the words

Of gods who fail as often as succeed.

by Jeff Holt