by Melissa Ross

I haven’t seen the sun in days,

or if I have, I didn’t notice.

But I just found this bright spot

by the window in the hospital café.

I’m sitting here thinking

I need to get back to living

because there will be more of this

—this place, soft and soundless with healing,

thundering with illness.


I’m dizzy from inhaling waiting room air

thick with worry of maladies and infection.

Shimmers of hope peek through

the blinds. I reach for one,

tuck it in my pocket.

I count stray particulates and

hold my breath.

There is no getting around it

—aging parents, hospital stays.

And, if I could grasp it,

accept this as a part of life,

I could find a sun-drenched spot in the dark,

unlock my tiny corner of this world,

and live.

Melissa Ross is a writer and artist. This poem, “Opposite of Waiting,” is part of a larger collection written while learning to come to terms with change, with letting go, with losing people she loves. More of her current work appears in the Fall 2023 issue of New Plains Review. Melissa shares her art on Instagram at melissa_rossart.