In the waiting room
of the diagnostic imaging centre,
a new patient
takes a seat underneath a wall of notices.
“cover your cough”
“wash your hands”
“please switch off your mobile phone”
A ringtone sounds off duck quacks
as the receptionist cracks open a cola can
and checks her Facebook messages.
and the walking wounded
jockey for space
in this orderly transfer station.
Frail or fit, young or old
they fill in forms,
engage in small talk,
skirt around unspoken fears.
Aquarium fish, coffee and puzzles distract.
They are momentary decoys,
drawing attention away
from what might be revealed
in the large white envelope
addressed to their physician.
High above this passage of people,
a television, with the sound on mute,
beams live footage from Indonesia
as two men, young and fit,
are relocated in the pre-dawn dark
to wait in the place of their pending execution.