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About this poet

Carrie Shipers is the author of Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico Press, 2016); Cause for Concern (Able Muse Press, 2014), selected by Molly Peacock for the 2014 Able Muse Book Award; and Ordinary Mourning (ABZ Press, 2010). She teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence.

Prayer to Our Lady of Waiting Rooms

Let the seats be plentiful and padded.  
Let the magazines be recent or let the book 
I’ve brought last until we can leave.
Let the TV on its bolted stand be off, 
muted, or showing something I can ignore—
weather, gameshows, CNN.  Let the room 
be mostly empty—no one shouting, sobbing, 
asking about my husband’s health.  
Let everyone be strangers except 
the staff.  Let the walls be freshly painted, 
soothing to behold.  Let my husband 
be there for a physical or routine checkup.  
Let no one comment on my clothes
or unwashed hair, how I can sit 
so calmly while he has staples 
or a catheter removed, his lungs or heart 
or kidneys tested, an infected wound 
debrided.  Under no circumstances 
let me be called into the back by a nurse 
who touches my arm, says I’m sorry but—  
Let my husband walk out whistling 
before I’ve finished my book, looked 
at my watch too many times.  Let the news
be good or benign, his next appointment 
not for months.  When the waiting is over, 
let us walk outside feeling better,
or at least no worse, than we did before.

Copyright © 2011 Carrie Shipers. Originally published in New England Review Volume 32, Number 4. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2011 Carrie Shipers. Originally published in New England Review Volume 32, Number 4. Used with permission of the author.

Carrie Shipers

Carrie Shipers

Carrie Shipers is the author of Family Resemblances (University of New Mexico Press, 2016). She teaches at Rhode Island College in Providence.

by this poet

poem
Not because of the hours or the pay, which could be worse.
          Not because of my commute into this office park,
                    or that no one else appreciates that phrase as much as I do.

Not the dim unholy hum of energy-efficient lights,
          recycled air with
poem
I’ve always been afraid to fall—the rough 
embrace of the net, the crowd’s shocked gasp, 
my mother’s disapproval.  She loves me best

when I can fly, when I trust the bar, the leap,
the air and all my training.  From far away, 
every catch, release and tumble looks as effortless 

as breath.  Up close, we grunt
poem
                   After Reagan Lothes
	
Because nothing else is on so early 
in the morning when he drinks coffee 
in an empty house.  Because almanacs 

are of limited use compared to satellites.
Because spring will have to come somehow 
and cold reminds him which bones 

he’s broken.  Because every