Sunday, October 1, 2023

The Wing

You don’t want to see
Anyone too young
In the cancer wing,

Since that would feel sad,
But you would at least
Hope to see someone

Who’s younger than you,
Or you’re the sad one,
Too sick and too young,

And somehow that feels
Like failure for you,
Like leaving the game

Of musical chairs,
Misspelling your word
At the spelling bee,

Or not being asked
To the next call-back—
You weren’t good enough,

You crapped out too soon,
You lacked the talent,
No knack for the game.

Wispy, silvery,
Elderly people
Wait all around you.

How many extra
Decades did they stay
Away from this place?

You imagine Death
With traditional
Hood, robes, and sickle,

Showing up for some
Of them, murmuring,
Well played, yes, well played.

You smile, but the nurse
Has come to get you
And take your vitals,

And it seems you might
Not be well enough
For treatment today.

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