The doughy older man in a Marine Bulldogs jacket
signals his wife in the crowded hospital pharmacy,
clutching his bagged prescription like a dead pheasant.That’s what it takes to get things done, he tells her
and the rest of the waiting room. If nothing happens,
you gotta investigate. That’s what it means to be a Marine.Yes, Lorne, she mutters as he herds her to the exit,
her weariness suggesting she is familiar with his
credo. Yes, Lorne—and now the rest of us awaiterswait, faces raised like forlorn hatchlings, mouths
wide, lest we miss our Last Name/First Initial flashed
upon the electronic screen way up near the ceiling.This room used to be a participatory democracy.
Now we are mere fools of please & thank you.
We read our Patient Education leaflets. We wait.Outside, darkness falls on the extravagant city.
Copyright © 2018 by Julie Bruck
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
The Malahat Review, established in 1967, is among Canada’s leading literary journals. Published quarterly, it features contemporary Canadian and international works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction as well as reviews of recently published Canadian poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction.
The Malahat Review is dedicated to excellence in writing. Its aim is to discover the most promising of the new writers and publish their work alongside the best established writers, to present work accurately and attractively to readers, and to increase awareness of Canadian writing in general through perceptive critical comment.