Fifteen Minute Break
by William Elliott

I sneak into the chaplain’s office
close the door
away from the hospital;
patients, smells of sick bodies,
the monitors pinging out vitals,
and lives measured by lines on a screen
the weight of worried minds,
furrowed brow, and pale cheek,
their shattered stories,
all deadened under anytime fluorescence.

A radio sits on the windowsill,
a harpsichord plays antique
sounds from a baroque world.
The melody, richly textured,
colorful and warm, like a Rembrandt
scene or an old, familiar story.
I am the prodigal
making the desperate homeward journey,
hoping God will make good,
despite the limits of my soul.

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