I go to the doctor’s because it’s essentially something to remind me that there’s a world
out there beyond myself,
The stack of health forms look like golden pancakes piled high
but remind me of diseases I could have, but do not. Maybe this toe’s not that bad….
I pause at the new questions:
“How active is my sex life?” “Is my partner is male or female?”
and the blanks are quite large, and I muse if we filled in the blanks
with composition responses,
it’d be a salacious book but not believable enough to be published.
A young guy checks in,
I can see he was born the year I was young and strong—going to college and working—
I peer over his shoulder, wondering how can he be both so young and so sick?
A mom pushes open the heavy door, holding it for her boy as he comes in, at first I see a
deformed face but he ignores all that
and skillfully wields his walker, inviting himself in
to seek out new-to-him toys for his adventures-of-the-mind.
Not till he calls his ‘mother’ Gram asking her for a truck out of reach, I see
Grandma’s his “replacement part” for parents somehow, and somewhere lost.
I’m ashamed, staggered by my own wealth:
I’m still awash in family: parent, children, cousins, aunts, people who love.
I hide my face in a magazine
which of course
says we are in a Horrible State,
but I’m old enough to recall earlier decades
and reading this, I feel like an actress
called back to my umpteenth at a dress rehearsal
for the END OF THE WORLD.
Then boy has an attack of hiccups.
The rest of us sit alone in our own self-structured booths
of silence waiting for our turn to unload about a
throbbing toe or the cause of hiccups.
But I’m guessing that’s not all that’s bothering us.
~~A Charity Johnson