Mid Morning at the Medical Clinic

                   Wearing an apple-white fishing cap, a man who must be in his 80s sits with a woman who’s not talking. Laura the nurse emerges to talk with him, calling him Honey. They’d wanted him to be seen right away, she says, but it’s been two weeks from tomorrow.

            He seems to be doing okay now. Laura explains, A lot of people won’t do the injection. Why is that? he asks.

            More people enter the lobby. It’s impossible to hear Laura’s answer. A man in a dark-green shirt thumbs through a magazine, snapping the pages flat with his huge hands.

            A man wheels in, wearing his breathing apparatus, his black umbrella across his lap. The woman behind the desk says, Hi Peter. In a cloudy voice, he mutters, Hi. Two women walk together slowly through the room and sit among us quietly.

            In a consultation room, a physician slides two prints of x-rays onto the light board as if they were Van Goghs newly discovered in a Parisian room.

            We could be sitting down the street at small tables in a neighborhood café. It is 1967 in the spring. Voices in conversation ring from the plaster walls. The scents of fresh bread and coffee circulate in the room. The intermittent breeze from the screen door brings in a touch of peach blossoms.


James Grabill

About James Grabill

James Grabill’s poems have appeared in numerous periodicals such as The Oxonian Review (UK), Stand (UK), Magma (UK), Toronto Quarterly (CAN), Harvard Review (US), Terrain (US), Seneca Review (US), Urthona (UK), kayak (US), Plumwood Mountain (AUS), Caliban (US), Spittoon (US), Weber: The Contemporary West (US), The Common Review (US), and Buddhist Poetry Review (US). His books include Poem Rising Out of the James Grabill’s recent work is online at the Buddhist Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Terrain, Urthona (UK), Shenandoah, The Oxonian Review (UK), Stand (UK), East West Journal, The Common Review, Toronto Quarterly, Elohi Gadugi, Oxonian Review (UK), Plumwood Mountain (AUS), Caliban, Spittoon, Weber: The Contemporary West, and many others. His books include Poem Rising Out of the Earth (1994) and An Indigo Scent after the Rain (2003), both from Lynx House Press. Wordcraft of Oregon has published his new project of environmental prose poems, Sea-Level Nerve: Book One, 2014 (available online -http://www.0s-1s.com/poetry-shelves/sea-level-nerve), Book Two, 2015 (now available). A long-time Oregon resident, he teaches 'systems thinking' and global issues relative to sustainability.
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