In the Waiting Room – Rebecca’s Doll

A. J. Wright, MLS

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Pelham, United States

Poet’s statement: I wrote“In the Waiting Room” after a visit with my mother-in-law to her doctor’s office in Colorado Springs. Passing other offices in the same complex, I noticed an unfinished puzzle on a table. “Rebecca’s doll” is a reflection on my daughter’s youthful fascination with playing “hospital” with her friends and dolls.


In the waiting room
of the cancer center
two people are working
on a jigsaw puzzle

one thousand pieces!
the box warns just
above the photo

of the finished puzzle
a ruined castle in the countryside
of a land far far away

this man and woman
are bent over the table
as if they have no doubts

unable to know just yet
how many pieces are missing



Photography by John Hritz



Photography by Molly DG

Rebecca’s doll
is receiving the best of care
from her three-year-old physician

who presses a gigantic toy thermometer
against those tiny ruby lips

and maneuvers the toy stethoscope
over a plastic chest and back

as if born to it,
finally asking tenderly,

do you need an aspirin?
does your tummy hurt?

the doll keeps smiling,
smiling as if born to it

and confident that the doctor is in,
concerned and competent


A. J. WRIGHT, MLS, is a librarian who has worked for more than 40 years at Auburn University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has published poems and articles related to medical history, Alabama history, and other topics in various journals since the late 1960s.