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“Sing it again,” I want to ask them both
as I sit here alone behind mesh drapes
on paper drawn across a vinyl table—
easier to clean but somehow sticky,
not cold, instead uncomfortably warm,
as though I feel the heat of the last patients
(old man? sad woman?), as though they might be catching.

“Sing it again,” I want to ask them both,
this patient and her doctor, reminiscing
about their old high school, a place I know
as run down now, dingy and not the jewel
that they remember. She’s in her seventies
(I overheard her birthdate earlier);
the doctor sounds younger, but not by much.

“Sing it again,” I wish, when they are done.
It took me by surprise to hear them there,
talking about a neighborhood and then
singing—Christos Anesti, their favorite prayer.
It took me by surprise, in this fluorescent
light where I’ve been waiting—though not too long—
that people sometimes do burst into song.

—Midge Goldberg