She watched
The families on television
With six chairs at the dining table
Six chairs all filled

She had three empty chairs.

She watched
The minivan pull up beside her
The children in the back
Their faces
Motion blurred when traffic said it was time to go

She had two empty seats.

She watched
Her mom's face
when she asked
For a
Or sister
Her mother

Had one empty stomach after all.
She watches
Her mother
Her father
How their laughter lines
And gray hairs loom
And she prays
She won’t be left alone in the hospital waiting room

With 10 empty seats.

Pretha Prabhakar is a freshman majoring in Design at SVA. She grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, and enjoys photography and spending time with her family.