WAITING IN LINE

Early morning in crepuscular light you run

on black macadam as if chased by a grizzly;

sprinting, you pierce the air, a flaming arrow

in resolute flight.

You hadn’t tasted fat for twenty-five years; filled

with vexation when you couldn’t catch your breath.

Once you felt you could run forever, now are driven

by a radiant desire to just keep moving, eluding

the wordless language at the journey’s end.

A doctor with no bedside manner bluntly barks:

“Your heart is kaput! It’s nothing but a warn out

pump, vena cava and ventricles clogged,

tributaries backed up like a beaver log jam.”

The Doctor suddenly looks miniscule and far away

as if you were looking through the wrong end

of binoculars. With legs buckling like a new born colt

you stagger out the door hearing : “Take a number!”

A number, as if you’re waiting on line at Zabars on Sunday morning

for thinly sliced Nova. Now you’re behind three thousand others

waiting for a cadaveric donor with the right antigens. You stare

out a window watching shifting shadows as darkness descends.

All you could think of is Moctezuma wielding an

obsidian knife sacrificially cutting out heart after heart.

Since it’s a sin to tell a lie you must confess you wish

for some poor devil to crash his car and survive brain dead.

You’re not ready to die, but must wait like men on death row.

You’ve yet to see the Galapagos, Bali or the Pyramids.

There are poems to write and how can you not spend more nights

under the burning tapers of the sky wondering what it’s all about.

Milton P. Ehrlich