Private Choices by Bernie Jordan

Staring at shining floorboards,
smoothed polished patterns show the scars and toils of life.
These long dead trees lie prone, their concentric growth rings a microcosm of fixed light
levelled up for us to tread without tripping.

This is the realm of the private hospital waiting room,
we are the NHS patients, fast tracked and fearful.

Hanging on the wall is the image of a woman, a picture of health,
her back to the camera shot, arms flung in a wide embrace she spans a sparkling sea.
This angel of aspiration promises joy, freedom, prolonged youth
with lifted faces, better noses, bigger boobs.

Not today, thank you.

A screen flashes the faces of men, smiling in silent greeting,
each one offering a macabre menu of medical procedures,
their career credentials displayed alongside body part expertise
– head, hands, heart, legs.
Feet with bunions, tendonitis, ingrown toenails, fallen arches,
solutions listed with promised results- removal, replacement, repair, recoup.
Here are competent clinicians calm, calculating, controlled.
Letters of eminent qualification speak of experience and painstaking work.
In them we put our trust.

I will stay if I must,
I am grateful for my slot.
But for now, let me face the floor.
Bernie Jordan 20.9.21

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