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Broken but disbelieving, we wait   
for any doctor to say it’s just blood
as the gray man greens, throws-
up in triage. A Goth teen holds Band-Aids
to her scalped thumb.  Somebody loses  
patience, explodes, Why are the sick 
treated this way? Doors dilate & the sick 
smell of antiseptics greets a waitress    
wearing a steak knife. We are cribbed by loss;   
gone, teeny heartbeats as I pass blood 
clots. A junkie limps, unaided,
to the bathroom,  another throw 
away human, unlike a tot thrown   
from a fire. Unforgettable, that sickening  
sound, shrill scream after scream raids  
the room of complaints. Hell won’t wait 
for examination, I learn, as bloodshot 
eyes meet mine. Hope is lost. 
Patients stoically sit. Some lose 
change to a vending machine.  A cop throws 
a look to his charge.  Words drift, bloody 
stool, x-rays, concussion. Sick talk to the sick.   
My hand is gently squeezed. No one else waits- 
out a miscarriage. I watch an aid 
swab vintage tiles, restack HIV/AIDS 
pamphlets as if they’re a deck of cards, like loss 
is just some hand dealt. Somewhere, a mother waits
for her boy to sleep, will wash bottles, throw
out dirty diapers.  Somewhere, a heartsick 
father releases bloodcurdling  
sobs because a body was found.  Blood
is both bond & amputation.  I took first aid
so I know why the sickest
get priority.  Besides, we've already lost                            
each other,  little one.  Our separation has thrown
me off balance. Why couldn't you wait?
As if I need hearing aids, a nurse throws 
my name out to the sick, the lost, ER roommates. 

No. I'll never be ready. Let the bloody stirrups wait...

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017

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Date: 7/1/2017 8:55:00 AM
Somehow loosing a life is triaged so low, as to wait. What a shame, we have come to this? Wonderful, emotive write. I hope it is fictional, I'm so sorry if it isn't.
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Date: 6/18/2017 7:55:00 PM
A visceral heartbreaking look at loss and pain that the well-meaning seem to speak of so casually.... When they often say it's for the best if a pregnancy is not viable, as if those feelings can just be erased. I can relate. My daughter lost her first. This is such a powerful piece and so well-written Cyndi! ; )
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Date: 6/18/2017 7:28:00 PM
tough, touching write and read. I like your variation of words for the sestina. A dreadful place to be, ER - for both patients and staff, who are usually work-overloaded and sleep deprived. Love the last stanza and lines :)
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