Illuminated photographs of lilies
invite us to drown our sorrows.
Economy of space means comfy seats
are placed uncomfortably close.
Beside me is a woman whose bulk
is not loss of control but a massing of strength.
She is painted in colours that nature
warns are dangerous;
aggravated by a comedy hat.
In her urgency to organise her weekly medication,
she overwhelms a small table,
loudly tabulating her days.
On my right is a man dressed
elegantly to disguise his status,
who betrays himself with a
monologue into a mobile.
Suddenly, he demands more than
silent agreement from his listener.
Instinctively half turning his body
in a cue for privacy, he extorts loyalty
with the clichéd line ‘I can’t do this on my own’,
that seems inadequate to his demand,
but he charges it with a tone of ferocious despair,
that carries a threat to them both.
This is a waiting room for patients whose
afflictions have turned them inside out.
Despite the walls’ attempts at tranquillity
our symptoms’ like unruly pets’ will not be house trained.