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in the pharmacy

I recognise the

patience-worn-thin face

another woman is wearing.

I know she’s steeled herself

to stillness for a spell,

perched uncomfortably

on the edge of the torn vinyl bench

across from the counter.

but the amenable idleness

of the gossiping clerks

soon drives her to her feet

and she paces the aisles in

a restless aimless fashion

slowburning to caged-animal frenzy.


whatever we’re waiting for –

antibiotics or antidepressants,

sedatives or laxatives –

we’ve long-suffered to the end of our tether,

eventually incubating the edginess

of junkies jonesing for a fix.

each asinine comment or tired version

of what passes for conversation

in tiny unbothered by other people’s

time constraints high street chemists

another irritant, a burr in our tender places,

all kinds of acid to our peace of mind,

when nothing progresses our cause

or expedites dispensing.