Elaine Adler

Waiting for the Numbers

Six long months to wait
for a new drawing.
Three vials fill with my
beautiful alizarin crimson paint.
What numbers will they write?
Will they continue to creep,
drawing outside the box?
Or will they dance and spin
within acceptable limits?
I wait with strangers
scattered around the room
with a common bond.
We wait to learn our fate.
We sit composed and accepting
on this beautiful blue-skied day,
squinting in the bright light
pouring through the wall of windows,
grateful for a clear day for the drive
after a week of snow piling high.
Those with immune systems
weakened by toxic drips
are masked against unseen germs
that hover around us.
Hats and scarves
warm their hairless heads,
and I find myself embarrassed
by my shock of long silver strands.
I’ve not yet begun to pay my dues.
I wait to see the artist
who holds the numbers painted by
those tubes of crimson.
While I measure my fate by
the size and proliferation
of swelling nodes,
he goes by the numbers,
by the book.
Together, we will write the next chapter,
and the next,
and the next,
until the final chapter writes itself.


Elaine Adler's spiritual path has guided her through many highs and lows. In addition to her grandchildren, she loves to play with language. Words sometimes flow through her, inspiring a poem. When creating calligraphic artwork, the same flow guides her pens and brushes, telling her where to put the paint and ink. You can view some of her artwork and writing on www.elaineadler.com.