Waiting Room-A Last Line Prompt
I walked in and was hit by the familiar smell of fear and disinfectant
then wrapped my sweater tighter from the cold and discomfort.
I glanced fleetingly into desperate, tearful eyes
bruised egos, painful cries and an accumulated knowledge of urgency.
The florescent lighting was a hallelujah on the empty seat next to a man
whose head was down, chin wrapped in collared flaps of his plaid shirt
and a profile at least seventy years old undoubtedly full of experience.
I poured two styrofoam cups of bold brew, black, and took it back
handed him one low enough to grab with his stressed pressed fingers.
He gave me a nod, took a sip, and that's how it started.
He was a German immigrant without a home.
He had traveled from Denmark, to France, to Rome.
He told me how he fell in love with the madness on the riverbanks,
picked perfect, round apples from free orchards, watched the sunset
put an orange glaze over the valleys of flowers so sweet you could almost taste
and fought mobsters in allies with a knife no larger than a grass blade.
He'd always attend the greatest balls in the greatest halls
and even learned how to tango, jitterbug and dance the waltz.
He told me about the first time he feasted on imported catfish
with bulks of bread, cheeses, and fine wines with cigars
assuredly dipped in glass halos and how he was
"Dressed to the nines!"
As soon as he lost his money and had failing health
he felt like a brown paper sack or a puppet
with anti-venom in a flask and no wealth to pull off
the target of his bull's eye view ripped from it's thumb tack
extinquishing the dark where love breeds and beams
of blue waves reflected heavy denim stapled to lazy eyelids
that hummed the song of faded days
with a blank piece of paper and an empty pen.
That's when I said to him
"When the next crusade comes you must scrape
at the wood with the sun, even with dainty fingers, my friend. "
His name was then called by a nurse in the corridor
he stood in loose jeans held by a belt that had not been seen
by the tailor of a good, caregiving woman in many years.
His soft, leathered hands, worn in, took mine
placed in them his cup and said,
"It's sad to me that it takes a threat to survival
to believe life is worth living because of an emergency.
Sometimes you have to find something worth the wait.
By the way, this was the worst drink I've ever had,
but the best I've ever been and I'm glad I was here
instead of drinking coffee in the cafes of Berlin."
Copyright © Mindy Clay | Year Posted 2016
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