John Grey

I count them:
three coughs, a runny nose,
and one man in a wheelchair
breathing from an oxygen tank.
A young woman enters,
her condition not immediately obvious.
I give her the benefit of a baby
maybe seven months from now.
An old couple nervously hold hands
in the shadow of the fish tank.
Whatever one has, the other
will willingly share.
A young boy plays on the floor with blocks.
He’s suffering from childhood I expect,
that stage where life itself is the sickness
and a standard disease or two is the cure.
For a half hour or so,
these people are not their jobs,
their loves, their family.
They’re strictly what they suffer from.
They’re inhaler refills,
anti-depressant prescriptions,
twinges in the shoulder,
knees that hurt to put pressure on.
I’m acid reflux by the way,
just in case you are wondering.