In the Mission Hospital Lobby

armrests of paisley chairs
threadbare with waiting

the lipsticks of women
swivel up from tubes
their worn shapes
as varied as nipples

my mother’s points heavenward
like the spire of a cathedral
like a pair of hands
pressed tightly in prayer

a hum of fluorescent bulbs
inside recessed canisters

quiet chirp
of rubber-soled shoes,
rhythmic click
of a cart’s one sticky wheel

in a hallway, gazes meet
then slide away in silence

two cars pass on a road
each beam for the moment
illuminating the other’s darkness

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