Back then I carried her books
held her hand
from class to class.
On the wall above the metal rack filled
with helpful magazines and pamphlets
about wheelchairs, lifting devices, and mechanized beds
an insignificant yet surprisingly loud little clock
is tick tick ticking away every second
I sit squirming on this dented folding chair
in the waiting area smelling of must and mice
and decaying yellow flowers.
I’m here for my appointment with Mary Jane
the Medicare expert because as anyone
who has ventured within a light year
of Medicare knows, without an expert to guide you
it is impossible to understand this bureaucratic tar pit.
Suddenly, sitting here listening to that fucking clock, I panic, want to bolt from
these rooms of looming death. How did I get here in the first place? How did I
ever become so damned old? If I leave right now I’ll reverse time, return to my
girlfriend’s living room or to the hall outside her homeroom or to her
university dorm lobby where she will appear, radiant and resplendent in her
vibrant youth and beauty bursting with the promise of life everlasting.
I didn’t mind waiting one bit back then.
I would have waited
until the end of time for her.
Michael Estabrook has been publishing his poetry in the small press since the 1980s. He has published over 20 collections, a recent one being The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany (The Poetry Box, 2019). He lives in Acton, Massachusetts.