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Clear midday summer sunlight
comes in through the lowered Venetian blinds
and, once inside, mixes with the scattered
fluorescent ceiling lights of the waiting room
where I’ve been looking at the covers
of the magazines lying on the table,
not doing the work in the backpack at my feet.
Whether you’re aware of it at the time or not,
what always feels most distinctive about hospitals,
I think, is how similar they are to other buildings,
how unexceptional the other patients and nurses
and doctors are, how ordinary disease is,
while, around the corner behind the reception desk
or through the swinging doors at the end
of an unmarked hallway you didn’t take,
there are things you know nothing about.
Unimaginable pain and hardship, of course,
but, perhaps, also hints of happiness,
probably not encountered today or tomorrow,
but eventually, at a time, like all others,
you can’t move toward, or away from.
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.