The doctor will be with you soon,
Or so you’re told.
You find a chair in row of chairs
With perfect Feng Shui,
Backs against the wall
Not too close to anyone else,
Where you can narrow your gaze
At the door through which we all must pass
As long as we have insurance.
You ask yourself
If you’re the first person who
Noticed the carpet’s infinitely repeating gray pattern.
Definitely not M.C. Escher.
The pale, Mission green olive walls and blond wood chairs,
The wall-mounted flat-screen showed smiling people
Stop smiling as they were told they should not despair that
More than a hundred bats
Were living happily just behind the dry wall
Of the house they just bought.
You ask yourself
If the red-faced sniffler,
Or that guy in the camo jacket contemplating gastrointestinal urgency,
And that bleary-eyed parent who had probably stayed up half the night
With the child beside her,
Were members of a secret society
Who only pretended to be ill
So they could explore the
Many fascinating and unique waiting rooms
And behave like those who are humbled
By stained glass, stone columns, clerestory windows
And the bird that flies in and doesn’t quite know what to do with itself
As a medieval cathedral reveals itself
As the house of the God
Who doesn’t have to make things right
Because they already are.
Did you hear a heavily accented guide,
Begin a bouncy little spiel
About the waiting room’s unique place and function in history of
commercial architecture and interior design?
Did you observe the gently enclosing,
But not confining
Effect of the coffee-colored blinds on the window overlooking the parking lot?
Now, come, marvel at how the warm earth tones
With the the vibrant, if slightly worn covers of magazines
And the crucial absence of clocks,
Combine to evoke an institutional calm,
Suggesting that sickness and discomfort
(and a home infested with bats!)
Were all momentary aberrations
As we make our gentle, loving progress
On God’s green earth?
No? Well, then take these few minutes
While you endure the agony
Of bats screeching under your skin,
To be thankful that you have insurance (and the co-pay!)
So you can walk through that door
And be a child again
In front of the grown-up
You’ve been waiting for.