She shuffled slowly down the hall,

her body leaning to one side, like a ship

in distress listing portside at one knot.

She had dark amber skin, a lumbering gait, with

worries deeply embedded in her wrinkled face.

Escorting me slowly out of the waiting room

she painstakingly took my vital signs

with the beguiling tenderness of a mother

comforting the febrile brow of a child.

While taking my family history

she began pouring out her great sadness:

her husband “just fell over and he was gone,

just like that!” It happened two year ago

and she still “can’t get his things together,- take

them to the salvation army or something.”

She used to be active and do things all

the time and now just wanders around

an empty house waiting for her husband

to come sauntering in the door with his

sunshiny face telling her the latest jokes

he heard from the guys at the shop that day.

The hardest thing about being alone

was no longer being touched.

“I wish I could lose weight or do something.”

Sighing an unfathomable sigh of resignation

tiny rivulets of tears rolled down the worn

crevices of her face as we sat quietly together

waiting for the doctor.