Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, May 20, 2013

We Are In the Waiting Room

The waiting room waits for us
to move through it. Magazines
collect like silt. We try to collect
each other's thoughts; fail;
return to our own. The waiting room

is quieter than most places
of worship. A door opens rudely.
The caller of names holds
a file, speaks two words brusquely.
One of us gets up. No one
says goodbye or good luck.

Those remaining settle too quickly
back into waiting. We've become
like birds on a roost at dusk.

The world cannot end as long as
there are waiting rooms
because that would be too dramatic.

Hans Ostrom 2013
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