ELEVATOR (a poem)

PART OF THE THIS IS THE MOMENT SERIES

O’Neill, Nina; Group of Figures; Northern Ireland Civil Service; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/group-of-figures-228226

  

Sitting in the waiting area of Cancérologie

on the 15th floor of the CHUM.

In walks a sixty-something year old man,

here for chemo.

He is dressed in black,

standing behind and

pushing his own wheelchair.

He is greeted by the nurse who

screens us as we arrive.

On the 15th Floor, you

cannot rise any higher–which

I prefer

to thinking that from here, there’s

only DOWN.

When he’s done answering the COVID-19 questionnaire

—probably for the 100th time—

and prepares to push on,

he thinks to say to the nurse:

“Bonne journée à vous et merci de votre travail, hein.”

I love people.
I have hope.

[Note: CHUM is an acronym for “Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal–a blessed place]

ADDENDUM:
I found this gorgeous essay/poem by Margaret Atwood in this morning’s Guardian. Enjoy.

THE TREES GROWN QUIET

PART OF THE THIS IS THE MOMENT SERIES

November 1st, 2020

by Michelle Payette-Daoust

Entering my ninth season since my diagnosis.

The pandemic remains.

Nothing is as it once was but

nothing ever is

from one moment to the next.

Kumpel, Wilhelm; Mark Ash, near Lyndhurst, New Forest; Aberystwyth University, School of Art Gallery and Museum; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/mark-ash-near-lyndhurst-new-forest-176600

I will count my time in seasons now and

try to rise above the treatment calendar

of chemo, scans and blood work—wiped

clean of coffee klatch dates and gatherings of

friends and family—many unseen over winter,

spring, summer and now fall…

Tindall, William Edwin; A Late Autumn Evening; Doncaster Museum Service; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/a-late-autumn-evening-69213

We try, Simon and I, to be

good neighbors, good friends, good

family members, bringing food, serving

coffee to the builders here, baking love…

Preparing for winter, and the loss

of the trees,

grown quiet,

stripped bare

uninhabited

and stoic.

Cole, R. A.; Five Tall Trees; North Lincolnshire Museums Service; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/five-tall-trees-80729