Day of Pink Lady Slippers

The Day of Pink Lady Slippers

“It is also called a moccasin flower,” you whisper
as we stand back. The legend has it these flowers
are rare, they need to be
left alone in the few places they survive.
We stand in awe, staring,
two wide basal leaves
and a single stalk almost a foot high
leading up to the strangest pink flower.

I can’t stop thinking about
the witnessing of ‘rare.’
Hours have passed since
the surprise visit of the rare flower,
symbolizing the Ojibwa girl who left
her village with medicines in hope
of curing the ill. I am now in an emergency room,

It’s four am,
the octagon shape of the room
seems almost torn out of the tarot’s deck.
The clank of aluminum in a pay phone,
the crispness of frustration, the dull bladed
dial tone, uneventful as the heart monitor
unblinking behind the door that opens and closes,
A mechanical arm, the gateway
between life and death.

The bad movie playing seems to suggest
dialogue is never what it’s supposed to be, never
what was diagnosed as truth. I flip through
nervous channels with late night showbiz panhandlers
promoting gizmos that are supposed to, “make life easier,
more convenient, or just irrelevant,” I guess.
On the waiting room table, “12 New Ways to Entertain,”
learn more about coffee cakes as your mother slowly dies.

A women shoves change returned
from the pay phone call that never happened
into a vending machine. We’re like that,
expendable. Every quarter not used
can be spent elsewhere. I feel my eighty odd years,
or whatever I get, going through the long tunnel
life goes through when first dropped in the slot
of mortalities first call.

Some kid will find it, grubby fingers,
hoping for something to tidy him over
until the next meal. I watch
from the brown leather chair designed to make
the time between life and death comfortable,
thinking about the Pink Lady Slippers
I saw earlier in the day,
So hidden..
So much to say…

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