Tuesday, August 12, 2014


A Prompt may be a sticky note on the refrig as reminder to pick up milk, or the computer reminding me of a new password. Meditation uses the prompt of breathing, mindfulness the prompt of chewing food slowly.

I broadcast to writing groups a writing prompt suggesting the topic Mortality and received the following poems. They present two all too common platforms. I use the poems with the authors’ permission.

Of the Fall   2013 Mike Medler

Tell me where the laceration runs
in final hours, in dust where
you have poured it all
and sutures live a long way
off. Tell me of the marksman
and the empty field beyond
and your tactical advantage.
Tell me if you can
see pain, taste anger,
wrap your arms around
the pervasive and all-consuming
loneliness that leads
you by the hand now. Tell me
if you remember kinder
moments, as if to make it
all worth something, or
if it is all worthy of nothing.
Tell me why your seams
have split and spilt you
into shaking hands, a final
gesture, a fall from which
I cannot lift you, from which
none will rise. Tell me
of the fall, or nothing.



The Waiting Room

I hate the waiting room,
the comfortable chairs and polished tables.
The complementary coffee and tea.
The big screen quietly scrolling the
ephemeral patient status,
attaching numbers to

I hate the waiting room.
It’s like Russian roulette
when the surgeons walk in, fresh from the OR
battle, bloodshed and carnage carefully cleaned away.
We all hold our breath.
I’m sorry.
And then nothing is ever right with the
world again.
Quiet keening fills the air as
spirits transcend.
Spirits going on to better, we hope—
oh we hope, to a better place.
But leaving just the same.

And we are left with our grief.
And we know our joy is but temporary.
And who knows the what or the when or the how about tomorrow.
Or about any tomorrow.

I hate the waiting room.

2014  Sharon Anderson

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