top of page

waiting room



having departed

from understood

but not quite arrived

at unknown


it’s where she sits

touching the edge


since the moment

the scan showed

what might have otherwise

gone unnoticed


how can you trust

a body that has gone

so wrong


what is strength

when it shrouds

what we need to know


if only 

she had sensed 

the lonesome one


before it propagated

across the landscape

of viscera


she could have sent

a single soldier


now it will take 

whole armies – 

old colonels

conscripted youth

uncertain mercenaries – 


she will have to accept

what she is given


she will have to ask

for things she never wanted


she will have to love

the body 

though it betrayed her

betrays her still


she will have to be present

for others 

even as her own essence 

abandons her


she will learn to be honest

when she wants to lie

& to lie when she wants

to scream 


where she sits

it’s not so different 


from the one silent

in basement or attic

as nazis stalked

above or below


from the one lying 

gagged & bound

in the trunk

of a moving car


from the one clinging

to a roof

while waters rise


they have all touched

the edge

of terrible



all that’s left is to wait

MORROW DOWDLE is a poet and psychiatric physician assistant working at a community health clinic in Hillsborough, NC.

bottom of page