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,
twinges in the shoulder,
knees that hurt to put pressure on.
I’m acid reflux by the way,
just in case you are wondering.