Patient Belongings

 John Willson



Belongings: The short-sleeved blouse,

its paisley rayon desperate

to breathe light in your form;

the comb that hungers

for the pull of your hair;

the wristwatch, clicking in stir,


whose dream embraces your pulse.

Pathetic fallacy aside, how could

such things harbor a virtue

that stems from pati,

Latin, to endure? Endure
they do, with other items


you traded for a backless gown, personal

effects in a white plastic bag

with blue lettering.

Your liver endures the scalpel's maneuvers.

Prisoner of the Waiting

Room smothering me like a bag,


I endure the madness

of not knowing, the urge to lift

the fish tank, hurl it

through the window.

I fear the spot

of impatient cells.




Eleven years distant, your scar a highway

between belly button and breast bone,

eleven years free of those

cells—the biggest knock on wood

of our lives—and still you keep


the bag, nowadays to carry your mouse pad,

mouse and cables.

There it lies this winter evening,

empty, folded on the desk,


longings face up.

Your hand glides the mouse,

clicks, and another window shifts

the illumination of your face.

It could hardly contain my love, that bag,


even as I shudder back

to the leatherette chair, my heart

jumping each time a nurse in scrubs

passed through the swinging doors.