TJ (17th June 1958 / England)

The Healthcare Hydra

Full surgery – caseload queue surging out of the waiting room door
And curling down the corridor
Like some sick snake
Swallowing a cocktail of complaints
From Portnoy's to the all-too-common cold;
Bemoaning (albeit quietly) it's lot:
Patients waiting as patiently as impatience can permit
For prognosis or placebo –
Medicine or minor miracle.

Most seeming fit as fleas or fiddles
Yet harbouring some undiagnosed weakness or other
Within the bounds of their brick and mortared mortality,
Staring all blank and unfocused
At grey-wash walls and faint-faded woodcuts
As mute as the naked hat-stand
Wasting away in the corner like a leper reminder
That sometimes there is no cure.

Every now and then the doctor decapitated this unhealthy Hydra
But it merely grew another head just as sullen as the former.

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