Issue 129, Winter 1993
Reruns in the Oncologist’s Waiting Room
Leather banquettes in old green edge the room.
A drab green of animal scales, guarded
Under agave, on days too hot to move.
Whatever breathes freezes when you turn.
Leather banquettes without that wounded sound
Of leather in summer, when you try to leave
And your skin pulls. The sound you want to make
When you want to leave and can’t; won’t.
Leather banquettes look darker by the window,
By the watered jade and gray-green figs;
Darker, like a mark over lips before
The kiss arrives. A man slouched on the far
Leather banquette reads his own St. Luke.
Another brings his father back from Hematology.
“Wait here.” He bolts to Accounting.
The old man stands by the wall. He leans by
Leather banquettes, and days pass, one green
Solid after another; the surface almost split.
The man leans on the wall, and you wait
Your turn, wanting to remember only
Leather banquettes. His son leads him away,
And TV, muffling all the conversations,
Keeps us watching over and over, common
In our muddled waiting, cushioned on green
Leather banquettes: A green more gray than grass
Or money, however much you have to leave.
The better doctors offer laughter piped
In waiting rooms: Lucy & Ricky & Ethel & Fred
& Danny & Kathy
Patty Cathy Lassie Batman
Amos Andy Andy Barney Opie
Bee “Leave It To Beaver”