friend of Jane's. I found this poem while checking out the Daily Poetry
blog and I could picture the pharmacy and interchange so clearly.
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 awaiters
wait, 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.
The Malahat Review