Stories of Cancer
Giving Voice to Real Experiences

A waiting room in August

We’ve made an art of it.
Our skin waits like a drum,
hands folded, unopened.
Eyes are low watt light bulbs
in unused rooms.
Our shoulders cook slowly
in dusky rays of light.
This morning we polished
our shoes, so that they should wait
smartly. Our wigs lie patiently
on our dignified heads.
Our mouths are ironed.
Acute ears listen for
the call of our names
across the room of
green chairs and walls.
Our names, those dear consonants
and syllables, that welcomed us
when we began,
before we learnt to wait.
Call us to the double doors
where the busy nurses go!
Haven’t we waited long enough?
Haven’t we waited beautifully?

By Julia Darling, from Sudden Collapses in Public Places, Arc Publications 2003  Copyright © Julia Darling’s family 2005