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by Ester Prudlo

"I wouldn't call it a time bomb." He says. 
I would.
I kick him in the foot.
The cancer on my kidney, my only kidney, is inside me, not him.
This young surgeon looks 18, must be 30, 35.
He has the power to decide.
I have to wait.
Four months, since June.
I'm not a whiner. I don't have panic attacks or headaches.
At least I didn't used to.
Now I shake
In the middle of the night, or when I'm sitting at the dinner table.
My husband holds me and we wait.
Now we parry and thrust with this doctor, asking our questions.
I ask for one more test.
"All right," he says, and I get a new scan, right then.
After an interval he calls me back into his office.
"This is good," he says. "I see it better now. 
I can take that off."
I get on the surgery schedule for December.

"Waiting" was published in Verse Wisconsin, July 2011.

Ester Hauser Laurence Prudlo is the author of children's books, fiction, non-fiction articles. Her poems have appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Madison Magazine, Birmingham Arts Journal, Postcards & Prose, Lummox. New Mirage Journal, and in several anthologies. She taught creative writing courses with University of Wisconsin Extension. A retired counselor to soldiers and inmates, she and husband Tony now spend summers in Wisconsin and winters in Alabama.