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Waiting Room & Invasion

by Judith Waller Carroll

Waiting Room

Even in here you can see the seasons change.
Everyone is wearing gold and russet,
sweaters the color of pumpkins
or butternut squash.
Just a few days ago the volunteer's greeting
was "Hot enough for you?"
This morning he rubs his hands together.
"Cold front blowing in."
Leaves somersault past the window
like pages from a calendar in one of those old movies
where the wounded hero rises from his wheelchair
as the music swells. If only life were that simple.
Soon winter will drift back into our lives,
the first tender flakes lighting on our fingertips,
reminding them how to touch.


Now that you are beginning to get strong again,
the acorns have taken over the yard,
green tendrils bursting from benign pods
like creatures from outer space.
All through your last surgery, the abscess
that wouldn't go away, the endless
trips to radiology, they lay on the ground,
silent, planning their attack.
Now there are miniature oaks everywhere
-the grass, the flower pots, the raised beds
where we planned to plant the bulbs,
dark earth turned back like a blanket.
We tackle the stubborn sprouts
with shovel and hoe, glad at last
to have an enemy we can lay eyes on,
a battle we just might win.

Judith Waller Carroll's poetry has appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Umbrella, Stone's Throw Magazine, has been nominated for the Best of the Net, and was the winner of the 2010 Carducci Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, Walking in Early September, is available from Finishing Line Press. Her husband is a survivor of prostate and colon cancer.