Waiting Room, and Heartbeat

September 17, 2011

by Conrad Geller

Waiting Room

In the emergency waiting room, each visitor sits,
Humble and cold. The TV is too red,
Its sound hollow and fuzzy. The New Yorker
Fleers and scoffs at all solemnity.

Exits are clearly marked, but the visitors
Do not move. Something has enchanted them.
With each rustle of entrance, nurses or doctors,
They stare amazed, as at an intermission.

The boredom of the horrible: Change is not welcome.
Time is motion, the future is uncertain,
Trust the meniscus of waiting, paw dumbly through
Old magazines, or listen to the news.

Heartbeat

The monitored heartbeat
Rides miraculously, over and over,
Peak after peak, wavelets in a gale,
Musical score for an instrument never
Invented.

My own heart, monitored for you like that,
Would show, I promise, nothing but faithfulness,
A little checked by age, much more by pain,
Still writhing in its old accustomed rhythm,
Its geometric pattern on the screen
A perfect metaphor for hopeless love.

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