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In the Waiting Room
In the Waiting Room
by Elizabeth Bishop

Sound Check

Read this poem aloud. What do you hear?

"In the Waiting Room" has short and clear lines. When you read the poem out loud, it sounds pretty clipped and matter-of-fact. Even the big emotional moments of the poem (when Elizabeth is asking all of those deep, unanswered questions) are pretty straightforward. And though the speaker is no longer the six-year-old Elizabeth in the poem – she's narrating from a future point in time and looking back on this experience – the poem has some of the simplicity of child's speech. A really smart child's speech, that is. The older, speaking Elizabeth does a great job of recreating her experience as a young girl.

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