Appointment in Doctor's Office

by Josephine Miles

Josephine Miles

The lady put off her fur, it was so warm in the outer office,
She was pale but not because she was frightened. She was afraid.
She looked at the framed pictures, particularly one of mountains
with sunlight,
Then she got out her glasses and read Harper's Bazaar
In which was a striking teaset of cream and jade.
She smoothed her gloves because whe was afraid.

The lady would not look at the little boy waiting in the outer
Because he kept his hands together and did not smile.
She would not look at the one who held him,
Reminding him at intervals not to cry.
And yet thereafter she did reassuringly smile
For what was evidently a long while.

The lady sat with her little broken bone and thought about Hawai,
Now and again stopping and taking breath.
Every chair was filled with the smoke of waiting,
The pages turning in intense parlor atmosphere,
Till when at the long long long overdue beckon she took breath
The lady was sick unto death.

Collected Poems 1930-83 (1983)

Last updated February 11, 2023