From: The Radiation Sonnets, Reprinted by permission of Algonquin Books, 2003. Not to be reprinted without permission.
Let me now speak of the waiting room,
That outer chamber, that gate to hell,
More like a motel than a tomb,
Where a faint antiseptic smell
Invades the bleak halls. This is not
A place of fun, where Disneys go.
It is neither too cold nor too hot
The TV blares some inane show,
And we who wait do not converse
We do the crossword, read a book.
As if the very act is cursed,
We hardly even share a look.
We do not smile, yet glow with health.
Our secret shame, and our only wealth.