Beach Village Surgery
Four of them waiting: the strong young woman
with fine breasts and a wheezing chest
(her small son tugging to be away), the man,
in his seventies maybe, coughing softly,
the woman with stiff, archaic perm,
her face impassive, the middle-aged man,
looks a joker, subdued by an aching throat.
None is seriously ill. Doctor O’Flaherty
is able to patch and palliate, adjust,
to listen, maybe to pick up the echoes
of the big infections: for two of them
the cruel partners, for one the debts,
for a fourth the daughter’s gambling.
Soothed and medicated just for now,
they leave singly for the car park, less than
a furlong from the sands, feeling briefly,
like a shot in the bloodstream
(maybe from the grains of salt in the air,
maybe the remembered view), the breath
of an ancient and continuing world.
Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has been published widely in Britain and the USA, where he has appeared frequently in San Pedro River Review, Third Wednesday and Burningword Literary Journal. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize four times in the last three years.