Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Waiting Room
"The waiting room
was full of grown-up people"
Elizabeth Bishop


outside, my mother
is waiting with my brother
I know him, erratic, unsteady,
high-pitched: he is flinging
the simple plastic toys into
the air, my mother is trying
not to scream, she speaks in
a loud whisper

my brother is running
to the wall, running back
the other mothers
pull their children
onto their laps
the receptionist smiles as if
her ears are hurting

inside, the doctor is doing
something I wish he wouldn't
without gloves, without a nurse
he smiles as if he has found
a five dollar bill in an empty
pocket

after this, I will go home
and keep quiet while my brother
pounds a hole in the kitchen
wall with his head

3 comments:

Collin said...

Whoa! That last line is a gut punch. Good stuff.

Valerie Loveland said...

I love the stanza:
"inside, the doctor is doing
something I wish he wouldn't
without gloves, without a nurse
he smiles as if he has found
a five dollar bill in an empty
pocket"

Christine said...

Thanks, Collin -- I was trying to make the brother and sister two parts of a whole.

Thanks, Valerie -- It was really difficult to suggest something without going over the top. I liked the pocket metaphor 'cause it's dirty.