How Quickly Time Flies

Speaking volumes only with her eyes
The patient says along with dozens more,
“Please don’t say how quickly time flies.”

She’d rather lie beneath the clear blue skies,
But learns to live with smells she could abhor,
Speaking volumes only with her eyes.

Twisted fingers merely a disguise,
Her hands once steered a kayak back to shore.
Please don’t say how quickly time flies.

This one-time river runner waits and sighs.
She sees her breakfast tray come through the door
And speaks volumes only with her eyes.

CNAs and RNs could be spies.
They’re seen, you know, on every single floor.
Please don’t say how quickly time flies.

This morning passed more quickly than before.
She could not know she’d breathe her last by four.
Still speaking volumes only with her eyes.
Please don’t say how quickly time flies.

Outpatient

Heavy steps through the clinic door.
Scores of faces, waiting room eyes
Follow my feet to the check-in desk.
Finally, a space for my face near the water cooler.

18 minutes of freedom, wishing our dog were here.
I dream, screaming silently till I hear my name.

Dead down the hall: sterile chairs, swabs, lidocaine,
Blood draw, raw nerves, tsk tsk near the back of my head.
Are you in pain? As if I were deaf.
No space for my face any more.

Meanwhile, it’s snowing.
Will this freeze cease?

Ease my arms through warm fleece sleeves.
Thoughts race, raw,
Pause as our reserved ride pulls up.
Better late than never.

I hear my name.
Going home? A smile for me.

Snowflakes breeze by blurred trees.
I bet our dog is deep asleep.

I look out the car window.
Somewhere between I-84 and our front yard,
My face becomes my own again.