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Best Friend

In his second-best shirt
and water-slicked hair
he tentatively enters.
On his face are written
the grasshoppers in his stomach.
The hospital elicits his every fear and sickness
and pales his face.
Through the long tortuous hall
he walks, avoiding the sterile white walls.
Smells of medicine, and urine, and old
are new to him. The lump in his throat
enlarges as his bravery struggles to keep
his tears in check.

His grandfather sits, still, and white as flour,
TV loud and obnoxious.
The recognition the boy hopes will be there
hasn't come yet.
Grandpa is otherwise occupied.
His slack skin never smiles,
vacant eyes never wander from the TV.
The boy softly cries.

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Copyright 1996 Vriana Kempster. All Rights Reserved.