Winter’s Sign

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I see toothless mouths desperate not to

smile or laugh, the gray faces of

COPD,  their wheezing breath alongside

tubes of air unseen their

only link to

Life.

 Their faces pale, eyes vacant, show no

gleam of hope, no sign of

Life I sense their

vacant sorrow, I feel the

morbid acceptance of their

pain,

their paths a one way

street, their beginnings long ago lost,

their dreams

forgotten

***

 A three hundred pound woman wearing

black tights a

Tweety Bird t-shirt, a red hibiscus placed artfully

behind her ear,  her seat overflowing

aware of people’s hatred,  smiles bravely embarrassed to be the

modern day

pariah,

her sickness …

her

addictions … worn

outside of her body for everyone

to see.

***

Next to me a gray faced man with

a walker and portable

oxygen whistles with each exhalation

 a muted

click with every intake, the newest model

breather that saves on O2

refills.

***

A man with no feet entering the room

driving a

motorized scooter says,

”How are all you good people doing today?”

The room grows

silent.

No one feels

good and they gave up “doing”

so long ago it’s a

distant memory they have to

think hard to

remember.

***

A gray haired woman,  staring through

sleepy eyes her

sagging face exposing broken

vessels her ankles swollen blue with

edema,

pushes her walker

away from the

treatment room into the

general population,  focused on the distant floor,

her eyes dripping with

clear fluid, slowly

shuffles  her  bedroom slippers to

the hand cleaner dispenser across the room,

rolls the pale green gel around her

fingers and palms then

sits down and weeps with

artificial tears ….

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