She sits

She waits for the nurse’s words of – assurance?

Reversing crossed legs, she rehearses responses

for the outcome of this round

Doors part, she holds her breath, guards her heart

and exhales as the news pours forth

He’s stable, able to speak, to move

Readying himself for the next step in the process

the peculiar art of surviving survival

But she

knows the names of every nurse on every shift

And she

knows the feel of styrofoam against her lips

the acid burn of instant coffee

The gelatinous gruel they call gravy

instant whipped condensed processed creamy cafeteria mashed potatoes

(damn, forgot to bring my muesli…)

She watches and waits and can’t using her cell phone

She sits on a plastic chair in a sweltering waiting room

with a flat-screen TV bigger than an MRI

Idol’s on

She stares without seeing, numb

hoping for good news to come

She’s alone for now

She likes it that way, when people stay away

they say they pray for him every day

She sits.  She waits.  She prays.

And God watches over her tonight

by the light of a fluorescent full moon

(c) 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil