Hospital Days

by Sue Ellen Thompson

The tests, the bloodwork—they
were good days, with magazines
to absorb the time spent waiting.
The nurses' banter spread a sheen
of normalcy over everything,
and the doctors left a little space
in their advice where spirit
might lodge. The three of us
went everywhere together, and at last
I knew the pleasure that the only child
takes in the company of her makers.

Then the doctor came to us one day
and said the chemo hadn't made
the kind of progress he was looking for,
that we could take my mother home
and stay. We sat there, stunned by what
our weeks of rushing to appointments
had not left us to contemplate,
then drove home without speaking. This day,
unlike the others, would not end
with smiles and good-byes, my father's
and my arms tucked beneath my mother's
and hope's modest, steady flame
still unextinguished in us at the thought
of eating supper at the kitchen table
before we called the cats in from the dark.

please note: photo by Abizeleth on flickr


  1. Oh my god. It never ceases to amaze me how the simplest images, in a good poem, chill me to the bone.

    An appropriate poem for you in your line of work today. I guess you see way too much of this.

  2. The end of hope is such a shocking, blank place in time. This poem fills that space with poignancy.

  3. Love your new look....poignant poem....Smiles.

  4. This poem is rather timely for me. And it is beautiful. sigh

  5. The poem leaves me feeling like a truck just ran me down... but one must get up and carry on, while one can.

    Things have changed here since my last visit, love the new magpie header, guess he's thinking about breaking into that car to steal something glittering inside ?

  6. Oh, that ending. Lovely, sad poem. And true.

  7. This poem resonated with me more because of my neighbor across the street--his chemo just isn't making any headway. His wife thinks he's trying to hanging on for their 50th wedding anniversary next month. I feel like part of a neighborhood death watch on the street.
    Thanks for the comments about the blog redecoration. I was playing with the templates and now I can't get my old one back...idle hands, devil's workshop and all that :>0


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Hey, thanks for your thoughts and your time:>)

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