William H. Wandless

Notes from the Oncology Ward


Those eyes of undiluted blue go wide

each time the sock-eared rabbit reappears,

a credit to the puppeteer slung low

across a row of old upholstered chairs.

A plush belly rubbed smooth by years of use,

a tuft of snarled yarn glued above the brow,

a frayed and graying pompon nose:  the stuff

of infinite, unprecedented jests,

the latest, because latest, best.  Surprise

occasions gales of gasping laughter strong

enough to shake the practiced gravity

of nurses gliding by, until one comes

with a countenance that stifles all smiles.

The puppeteer accepts an offered hand,

abandons the rabbit and shuffles away.

She waves to her playmate; he pays her no mind.

Expectant eyes of undiluted blue

survey the row of old upholstered chairs,

unwilling to concede a difference

between what is hidden, what has gone.





William H. Wandless: Bio


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