It seems so—         
I don’t know.  It seems   
as if the end of the world   
has never happened in here.   
No smoke, no   
dizzy flaring except   
those candles you can light   
in the chapel for a quarter.   
They last maybe an hour   
before burning out.   
                            And in this room   
where we wait, I see   
them pass, the surgical folk—     
nurses, doctors, the guy who hangs up   
the blood drop—ready for lunch,   
their scrubs still starched into wrinkles,   
a cheerful green or pale blue,   
and the end of a joke, something   
about a man who thought he could be—   
what?  I lose it   
in their brief laughter.

Poem copyright ©2006 by Marianne Boruch, whose most recent book of poetry is Grace, Fallen from, Wesleyan University Press, 2008. Poem reprinted from “TriQuarterly,” Issue 126, by permission of Marianne Boruch.
More Poems by Marianne Boruch