The infirm straggle
with walkers and canes
in to cavernous bowels
of hospital hallways.

They line up as if they
were at Lourdes.

Tremulous hands
reach for a number.

They could be at Zabar’s,
waiting for thinly sliced Nova.

Defined as patients,
personhood vanishes.

The wheelchair-bound,
heads slumped over,
hats askew and mouths agape,
look more dead than alive.

Asians and Latinos
mumble softly in broken English.

Teary-eyed when they hear
they must pay $442 to register
if they have no insurance.

Filled with bureaucratic ennui,
they’re like victims of the Hun,
waiting for exit visas in ’39.

They weep and whimper,
as moans and deep sighs
echo up and down the hall

After waiting for hours
that never end,
they are greeted by a swishy Doctor
from Bombay, who is all smiles.

He embraces them with love.
as if he was their mother.