Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Woman In A Waiting-Room

Woman In A Waiting-Room

I guess her age to be 80. She's kept
herself looking the best she can: lean
like a late aunt of mine. The gray
hair's tinted blond but cut
with no-nonsensical reserve--the style's
what they used to call "page-boy."

Trousers, a sweater, sensible beige shoes.
Her back hardly lets her bow to examine
magazine-covers on a table. She squints
and scowls so hawkishly, I think for a
moment she's spotted a spider. She
selects none of the magazines: wise.

She sits now and looks out western windows,
lifts her face to muted afternoon light,
takes out a compact, and applies lipstick.
Blue eyes above lightly rouged cheeks look
coolly into the mirror's report. She's not
looking for approval, only information. She

forms her lips as she has done for more
than six decades. Compact and lipstick
disappear. She settles into the chair,
into defiant patience, and waits, newly
painted lips pursed, for her doctor's
nurse to open a door and call her name.

Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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