Tuesday, 8 May 2018

VA Waiting Room

by Judith Michaels Safford

(Messy Love, Messy World)
The Floor
Building 57
Sitting in a crowed Veterans waiting room in Tucson with my husband,
looking at the floor
thinking of messy love, messy world,
I ask.
Floor, what doest thou say to me?
Many veterans' feet
heavy shoes and light
scuffle their lives upon me,
memories of war
spill on this floor
wheel chairs,
legs of steel, no legs at all,
cry and fall heavy.
Mopping, buffing cannot wash away
this messy world of you.
You, who have suffered.
You, who have killed.
You, whose blood has spilled.
All because the government
thought you ought
to be taught of loyalty and gallantry.
Shame on us, who hate
the other brother, and yet
none are free from being frightened
little ones still playing
‘cowboys and injuns.’
I feel the weight, the pain,
the sluggish gate.
I hear the memorized
“Thank you for serving our country,”
echoing down the halls.

12:30 in another crowded waiting room
Building 80
I ask the door.
What say thou?
They come and go.
They laugh and cry.
They live and die.
I stay steel and tall
opening and closing.

* * * * *

In 2006, Judith Michaels Safford discovered a radio program on writing poetry. She followed the prompts and mustered up the courage to press the send button. She was invited to read and a door was open that had not previously existed. She finds that her emotions express more easily through poetry. Judith self-published her memoir in 2009. Don’t Sell Your Soul, Memoir of a Guru Junkie. Encouraged by a published poet-friend, she embarked on self-publishing a book of prayer poems. Joyful Surrender, A pilgrimage. Judith continues to practice a 23-year career as a licensed massage therapist. Today her home is Glenwood, New Mexico, where artists of many kind reside. Touching others with hands and poems brings a tremendous satisfaction of purpose to her life.