Conversation In The Dispensary Queue

You shouldn't be old, not at your age.
You must be, what, thirty-nine?
You shouldn't be hunched and shaking
as you watch the dispensary line.

Your eyesight shouldn't be failing
and those ulcers are nasty too,
have you tried telling your doctor
what his drugs have been doing to you?

Oh! He said you were crazy?
There was nothing that he could do?
Are you sure that it's never been heard of,
this thing that has happened to you?

But why won't they let you go shopping?
What? Anything money can buy?
They don't seem to care that you can't brush your hair,
you've a right to be miffed. So would I.

So what do your notes say about you?
You haven't? They wouldn't? But why?
It says as a fact in the '83 Act that you can on request,
so they lie!

"He really shouldn't be crying,
not at his age, in public, at least."
No, I don't think they meant you to hear it.
Yes, that nurse with the beard is a beast!

Look, the queue's gone, it's your turn to take them.
Yes, I know, but you must if they say.
If you don't then they'll put you on Section
but at least that's your lot for today.

- by Prajna Pranab, 1998