Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Prayer to Our Lady of Waiting Rooms

Let the seats be plentiful and padded.  
Let the magazines be recent or let the book 
I’ve brought last until we can leave.
Let the TV on its bolted stand be off, 
muted, or showing something I can ignore—
weather, gameshows, CNN.  Let the room 
be mostly empty—no one shouting, sobbing, 
asking about my husband’s health.  
Let everyone be strangers except 
the staff.  Let the walls be freshly painted, 
soothing to behold.  Let my husband 
be there for a physical or routine checkup.  
Let no one comment on my clothes
or unwashed hair, how I can sit 
so calmly while he has staples 
or a catheter removed, his lungs or heart 
or kidneys tested, an infected wound 
debrided.  Under no circumstances 
let me be called into the back by a nurse 
who touches my arm, says I’m sorry but—  
Let my husband walk out whistling 
before I’ve finished my book, looked 
at my watch too many times.  Let the news
be good or benign, his next appointment 
not for months.  When the waiting is over, 
let us walk outside feeling better,
or at least no worse, than we did before.

Credit


Copyright © 2011 Carrie Shipers. Originally published in New England Review Volume 32, Number 4. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Carrie Shipers

Carrie Shipers is the author of Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico Press, 2016). She teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence.

Date Published: 2017-09-11

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/prayer-our-lady-waiting-rooms