A. J. Wright
Birmingham, Pelham, USA
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 puzzleone thousand pieces!
the box warns just
above the photoof the finished puzzle
a ruined castle in the countryside
of a land far far awaythis man and woman
are bent over the table
as if they have no doubtsunable 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 physicianwho presses a gigantic toy thermometer
against those tiny ruby lipsand maneuvers the toy stethoscope
over a plastic chest and backas if born to it,
finally asking tenderly,do you need an aspirin?
does your tummy hurt?
the doll keeps smiling,
and confident that the doctor is in,
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.