please circle one

I thought I’d be eligible for benefits by the time I got done discussing a fellow’s case with Medicare this week. Note to interested parties: It is terribly difficult to send money to a government agency.

In response to L.L. Barkat’s recent Facebook prompt to cut words from a magazine and weave them into a poem, I took my frustrations out with a scissor on a piece of Medicare correspondence. I assure you, this makes more sense than the letter in its original form and the telephone conversation about it combined.

We are in receipt
of your communication.
Your file is closed.

That’s not the case,

I want to learn
about your letter.
It’s no fault of yours.

You want a signed statement.
You demand a payment ledger.

He/she, will and/or
complete a Case
Closure Detail Document.

We did not
close the case.

Yes No.
If you have any questions
please circle one.
But we require No.

They claimed
injuries, injuries sustained.
Please send (proof of who was paid).
No one has been paid.

Yes No.
Please circle one.

Benefits were exhausted.
I’m exhausted
and need a recovery
contractor, speech
impaired. Stopped.

There is no possibility
where one is not required.



  1. Lyla, wow…those last two lines are powerful…the whole poem is, but the implication of those final two lines is almost breath-taking in its starkness, its finality.

  2. laughing out loud. really. wish you could hear me. Laura’s prompt idea was truly inspired….thanks for sharing, Lyla.

  3. Wow!! The poem is great, and so is the part about the poem making more sense than the letter. 🙂

  4. having dealt with claims from the PI side, Medicare has proved to be, by far, the most frustrating bureaucracy to deal with, save the Veterans Administration…just seeing their names in print raises my blood pressure…

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