By Christina E. Petrides

Artwork by Alli Rowe

To be briefly accessed 

By an ordinary American physician 

Requires a stint in purgatory. 

Compared, the oft-bemoaned Post Office line 

Resembles a bullet train to paradise. 

Industrial fluorescent rods 

Glow overhead in patient areas,

Sickening the dingy upholstery.

The odd magazines

Languish grossly out of date,

Their pages curled 

By unwashed thousands’ hands.

Stilted soap opera dialogs 

And rapacious lawyer ads 

Drip from the television. 

Clerks who dimly comprehend 

Only the operation of the telephone 

Are encased in surgical scrubs. 

Personnel not chained to desks 

Prod visitors’ mental sores 

By reshuffling them 

Among the rooms

To the frustrating mantra 

“Please wait here, 

The doctor will see you shortly.” 

So eternity passes by.

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