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Deborah Shlian

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Waiting
by Deborah Shlian

Saturday, July 26, 2003

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Recent poems by Deborah Shlian
•  ANGRY WORDS
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Inspired by the comments of so many patients who complain regularly about the agony of waiting to hear from their doctors

The worse part is waiting.
Always the waiting.
Don't they know that?
The men and women in white coats who push and prod and hem and haw and tell us they will call with the results,
Don't they understand how hard it is to sit by the phone, waiting for news, your heart in your throat, imagining the end of your life,
Playing promise games with God (I promise never to cheat on my taxes, my wife, my friends if I'm okay)
Just let me be okay, please God.
Don't they appreciate that fear itself is cancer, eating away your insides, destroying your hope
I'm too young…
I'm 27 and fainted yesterday. The doctor drew blood and says he'll know more soon
I'm 42 and just discovered a breast lump. The needle biopsy didn't produce half as much agony as waiting for the pathologist's report
I'm 74 and started to lose my sight. They say the MRI scan of my brain will explain why
So we sit home, watching the seconds tick, anticipating the words: life or death?
Dreading the news, yet praying for the jangle of the phone
Because nothing is as bad as waiting….

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