Urgent Care

I just went in for a quick checkup
because of a few random symptoms.

You never know what might kill you,
so I figured I should play it safe.

I walked up to the counter
to be greeted by a woman
on a computer screen.

She was sitting in an office somewhere
and seemed stuck with a job
she didn’t love anymore.

After registering with her virtually,
I had to go to the waiting room.

As I sat in one of their hard chairs,
I thought about how some people
get lucky and die instantly
with no feeling or warning signs at all.

a nurse interrupted by calling my name
and taking me to a smaller room.

Blood pressure test,
pulse measurement,
blah blah blah.

the doctor came in and talked over me
as fast as she could
before handing me an excuse slip
for my employer
and a piece of paper
with several unnecessary medications
written on it.

I guess that’s quality care,

She might as well have said,
“Thank you,
and have a nice day—
if you manage to survive another one,
that is.”

Gabriel Bates is a poet living in Tiffin, Ohio. His work has appeared in several publications, online and in print. Keep up with him at gabrielbates.substack.com. Read other articles by Gabriel.