“At the Cancer Clinic” by Ted Kooser

She is being helped toward the open door

that leads to the examining rooms

by two young women I take to be her sisters.

Each bends to the weight of an arm

and steps with the straight, tough bearing

of courage.  At what must seem to be

a great distance, a nurse holds the door,

smiling and calling encouragement.

How patient she is in the crisp white sails

of her clothes.  The sick woman

peers from under her funny knit cap

to watch each foot swing scuffing forward 

and take its turn under her weight.

There is no restlessness or impatience

or anger anywhere in sight.  Grace

fills the clean mold of this moment

and all the shuffling magazines grow still.  

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