Waiting Is Not for Sissies
by Alarie Tennille

The bench is empty.
Why are you late?
I sit and wait five minutes,
               Red alert! Red alert!

My worry warriors charge
into action. Scouts scurry
ahead looking for trouble: the car
wreck, plane crash, heart attack,
kidnapping. Like Fox News,
they radio back every conjecture.

The strategists leap in. Plot
what to do if a, b, or c.
Where to go? Whom to call?
I am still waiting.

Tell myself to breathe deeply, assume
the best. Check messages, interrogate
memory. Perhaps I got the time
or date wrong.

I try to let reason rule, but it
rarely ever does.

PHOTO: Parallelograms by Nieves Mingueza (2015). 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I probably spend more time waiting than an average person. Since I don’t drive, I have to wait on a friend or my husband to pick me up. I normally wait calmly for the first five minutes, but the friend picking me up that day is very punctual and usually sitting in front of my house before the appointed time. (The bench was poetic license.) We were going to a lovely French bistro for lunch, so I was especially eager. When I wondered how I could calm down, I did what a poet does¬–started composing this poem in my head. The tardy friend was a poet, too, so I knew she’d approve. Eventually I went upstairs to check my computer. She had sent an email asking to change the date.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alarie Tennille graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she serves on the Emeritus Board and Programming Committee of The Writers Place. Alarie is excited to have a new book, Three A.M. at the Museum, her third collection from Kelsay Books, which arrived in June 2021. The new book includes many ekphrastic poems and an introduction by Lorette C. Luzajic, Editor of The Ekphrastic Review. Alarie’s other books, Waking on the Moon and Running Counter Clockwise, are both available on Amazon.  Please visit her at