Standing Room Only
Like a scene from a hospital show from the 90s, I stand in the hallway, one hand on the wall, fingers splayed, not so much to hold myself up, as much as to simply have someplace to put them, something to do with my quivering digits, the other trembling set wrapped firmly around my waist. I'm polite as you give me the news, nodding slowly, my eyes never leaving your face, focused on your mouth, possibly believing if I stare hard enough, I'll be able to rearrange the words spilling forth, thus altering the news, changing the course of the landscape. You apologize more than once for the lack of privacy as you tell me the MRI shows an undetermined mass at the base of my brain. I think I ask you for a more precise explanation of what I'm supposed to do with that information, but the effects of the morphine rushing through my system make me question whether I speak at all, or merely hear the words inside my head, false niceties alongside vicious curses I'd only heard in movies I'd never admit to watching. Tears well up, but not for me. Surely, they're nothing more than tears of empathy for the look of pain on your troubled face as you graciously conclude by telling me it will be another three hours before the Attending on Duty will have the time to get to my chart, review my paperwork, and find me a bloody room.
Cristine A. Gruber has had work featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer's Digest, Writers' Journal, Ascent Aspirations, California Quarterly, Dead Snakes Online Journal, The Endicott Review, Garbanzo Literary Journal, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Kind of a Hurricane Press: Something's Brewing Anthology, Miller's Pond Poetry Magazine, The Penwood Review, Poem, Thema, The Tule Review, and Westward Quarterly. Her first full-length collection of Poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from amazon.com.