A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 3, September 2019

| contents page | next |

Lynn Edge
Tivoli, Texas, USA

The Appointment

Oncology, printed on the door, startles me. Seeing the word, I realize how serious my husband's illness might be.

He fills out page after page of forms. In a small room, a young woman asks for his medical history. “Bladder problems, kidney disease, tuberculosis, heart . . .”

“You’re going too fast for him,” I say. My resolve to listen and say nothing is broken.

slow rain . . .
his flat top drizzled
with gray

We move to an examining room and the nurse leaves us sitting side by side in two plastic chairs.

“Of the original coffee group, I am the only one left,” he says.

“You’re tougher.”

He sighs. “Irving, gone at only sixty-one.”

dog days
even the hibiscus

When the doctor walks in, I notice he has a John Hopkins identification tag hanging from his waist.

He smiles and taps the clothing label on my husband’s shirt pocket.

“Wrangler. Do you have a Stetson also?"

“No, I wear straw hats. Too hot down here for felt.”

“You wear straw hats?”

Maybe the doctor is thinking of a Mexican sombrero instead of a western hat. It is obvious he hasn’t been in South Texas long.

“At least you won’t have snow here,” I venture.

“No snow? It never snows?” he asks with surprise.

The doctor presses his patient’s side.

“Your liver feels fine.”

He presses on the other side.

“Your spleen feels fine also.”

I think to myself, “How can such a cheerful doctor deliver bad news?"

storm clouds
my husband updates
his living will