Poem: Same Time Next Week

By: Kimberly Potter Kendrick

sametimesametime

Wall to wall recliners and IV poles
Unknown show on television
Too far to see or hear
Special chair saved with my name
Others backed into cinderblock wall
All the way back mine stretches
Eases the pain in my spine

Busy Monday
Eight recliners, seven patients
Number eight is me
Home for three hours
Watching as the needle sticks into my vein
Relieved the line works on the first attempt
Quickly she starts the first bag
Only saline to begin a flow
Next the evil bag appears
Brown poison to seep in
Poison to kill poison within
Rather ironic, don’t you agree?

Looking to my right
One man, the rest of line is women
All appearing much older than me
I glance at each one
Not to stare, but with wonder
Noticing their demeanor
Somber is music playing across faces
No smiles, no tears, some small talk
No one mentions the big C

We’re alike, too alike
Big C stamped upon foreheads
Invisible to most, but those in the room can see
The word never spoken

How long will the poisons run?
How many weeks will I sit in the crowded recliner room?
How many of us will the poisons cure?

Unusually quiet the nurse
Imagining how hard her job must be
Does every patient survive to their next appointment?
Will I live through my prescribed treatments?
I pause with that thought only momentarily
Remembering not to obsess

Pulling paperwork out of my backpack
She takes time to bring a clipboard
She checks on everyone’s comfort
She checks the intravenous lines
She checks poisons’ progress touching each bag

My distraction I begin
Forms to complete for yet another doctor
Writing letters to make words
Filling in the blanks
Why do they always ask the same questions three or four times?
A half an hour passes, I’m finished

Untangling earbuds, scrolling through my playlist
Choosing a song to begin another diversion
Choosing a song opposite my mood
Music and scrabble on my phone
Engaged activity
Contending the intrusive “Will this actually work?”

The beep sounds, the bag empty
Clear fluids push the last drop of brown through
Nurse asks how I feel
Can I tell a difference? Honestly, no.
Still fatigued all the time
After this one you will start feeling better
I don’t bite the encouragement
I can’t remember not tired

Tubes disconnected, gauze placed across my arm
Only a few drops of blood
She snuggly wraps my arm
Same routine, same poisons
Same time next week

I gather my things, say goodbye
Walk away to live my life as if absolutely nothing is wrong
I drive turning up the music
Freedom only lasts seven days
Same routine, same poisons
Same time next week

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One response to “Poem: Same Time Next Week

  1. Kim, this is a great poem. You are progressing well. You have taken a literary device and made it sing. But, I still like 385 miles the best.

    Perry

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