The Envelope by Michael Healy

The Envelope by Michael Healy

the envelope


There it sat where it had been, for the last five days,

Unopened on my desk, at the edge, as was my way.

In a bright ring of light when the table lamp shone

Clear, on the back, the name of the sender printed on.

I picked it up and looked it over again, as I had so often before.


I fingered the quality paper of the envelope, and weighed it in my hands

The addressee was clearly me. I picked up my paper knife and waited, poised, as respect demands.

I started an incision at the right hand corner of the paper flap.

My hands began to shake. I carefully returned knife and envelope to the table top

I still had to complete that opening. Tomorrow, yes, tomorrow would be so much better.


I opened my briefcase, took out the file of papers within, and started work.

It was dark as I finished. There sat the envelope in a pool of light.

I closed my study door. Bed. Sleep if I could. Forget that envelope.


 Next day I awoke with my bed all tousled, and that envelope on my mind. I had to open it, I really must. But not now, later, after work.

My day was busy and my mind was on my job. Time soon went by, so now it was time to go home.

Usually I delight at the thought of returning to my comfy home,

But I knew what awaited me on my study desk; that blessed Envelope.

As I drove home I felt determined, today it would be over.


Dinner was ready as I walked in, so my task must wait a little longer

My hunger satiated I went to my study and sat at my desk


This was it, no more procrastination, I had to complete the opening.

I picked up the envelope and read the hospital’s address on the back.

Then there was the name of the consultant for urology and oncology.

I breathed in deep and picked up my paper knife.

Quite rapidy I finished the cut and pulled out the contents.

I held the page before me, and read:

‘Herewith are the results of your recent prostate biopsy’. I read and read and read it. It was clear. All this time of worry and I need not have worried.

And then, I caught my breath. The name at the top of the page was not mine. The realization dawned;

I had held someone’s results and still knew not my own.

Next morning I phoned the hospital and asked that my results be sent

This time I was ready for the envelope to come

And be opened straight away!


You see I had asked for my results on the phone, all clear.

That coming envelope held no fear.

Michael Healy