• Best of the Net 2023 Nominations

    Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY is delighted to announce the following poems have been nominated for inclusion in 2024’s Best of the Net anthology: Flight Path by Laura RodleyThe Sonnet by Ed HackRailway Station, Bendery, Moldova by Tovli SimiryanBaptism by Greg WatsonMaking Up by Larina WarnockAll the best stories are true by Julia Klatt Singer —read more—

Waiting by John Ziegler


The siren in the distance, then near,
Chester on a gurney wheeled to the raised hatch.

Eleanor then, in the waiting room, waiting.
The doctor didn’t come and didn’t come.

Neighbor Leon, leaning against the stone wall outside,
helping to wait.
His wife Eileen too, her bent wrist on one hip,
her old fingers laced with his,
their bow legged white dog came along.

Farm clothes and faces lined with practiced resignation,
the old boar, the old cow in the pasture,
they all knew how to wait.

At home, the two wingback chairs in the parlor waited.
Baggy trousers on the wash line,
goats napping in the dusty yard.

The heart attack that stopped for a visit,
now down the road to someone else.

At home, his silver razor on the porcelain sink,
the shave cream, the mirror.

Eleanor touched his smooth bare head,
his Picasso face,
her voice examining to get a sense of him.
She touched his chest inside his shirt, his palms
to see if he had much grip.

In the late afternoon, he gazed from the window to the blue mountain.
It looked different. From now on, everything different.

by John Ziegler

Editor’s Note: The sharp, clean imagery of this poem creates snapshots of trauma that stick in the reader’s mind so acutely it’s almost a relief to read the last line.


One response to “Waiting by John Ziegler”

  1. richardsund Avatar

    I waited with so many families during what were called ‘ Code Blue Support ” on our pagers. As a Psychiatric Crisis ER RN for years, this was the most painful part of my ER responsibilities. This poem captures those moments when the Family is hoping and hoping, and then what follows was mostly always the worst news. This poem captures so many feelings and events that my poems never did.

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