Lady in the waiting room
Vermillion smeared on fore head.
Sandal paste on your neck
Hands buried in beads
Fumbling fingers moving
The mouth chanting a prayer
As your mother’s tired eyes wait
Her hand clings to her colostomy bag
Patiently, just as the doctor said.
I see you have come from the temple
His marks are fresh on you
And here in this cancer hospital
You’re not alone, many take that route
Church, temple, mosque, synagogue
Clinging to life in a clear plastic bag.
I try not to stare, I look away: my eyes ask
Has He ever heard you, then
He to whom you pray?