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.