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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


 Then boy has an attack of hiccups. Door

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