A Poem
by Ned

Driving at dawn
to the bedside of a sick friend
the miles disappearing
under the wheels
and outside the windows,
make the flow of time visible.
Her peril becomes our own.
How much time,
how many miles are left to go?
We are in no hurry,
but move with deliberate speed
hopeful to arrive in time
to wish her well before she lies
beneath the bright lights,
her body becomes a battle ground
between surgeon and disease.

Of course we get slightly lost -
we are slightly lost
in imagining her suffering -
and arrive uncertainly
balancing calm and concern.
We wander the corridors
bushwhacking through elevators
and clusters of gurneys,
to the surgery wing.

We ask staff passing by
where to find our friend,
where to wait.
"You can't see her now," we are told -
and then, miraculously,
as if conjured by our thoughts
she appears,
wheeled around the corner by an orderly,
her black hair cascading to her shoulders,
looking like Cleopatra on her palanquin.

There's no time for more
than a quick hug and kiss,
but the moment is enormous
and vibrant with hope and love,
joy in seeing her that drives fear out.
She's on her way to another world
already in progress,
the miles and minutes
dissappearing under the gurney's wheels.

We'll wait for her,
the left-behind,
sailor's wives watching the horizon,
squinting against the sun,
every sense alive for signs
of the wanderer's safe return.