Are You My Doctor
Are you my doctor?
It’s a simple question.
But what I’m really asking is
are you the sort of man
(or woman, let’s not be obtuse here)
whose hands expertly understand
how to handle my more delicate,
thinly crenellated folds of flesh
— and if not that, then at least
how to staunch my wild hemorrhaging,
how to pack my gaping holes with gauze
(the ones, might I mention, YOU put there)?
Will you devote yourself to learning
how to stitch with such a cunning
and deft style so that at visiting hours
I won’t cause the little children to cry?
Are you that doctor? Will you speak
the old words for comfort, using the language
of Babel to calm me, to coax me?
Will you starch your white coat diligently
so that my mother might admire?
Will you be the one to bracket the length
of my life like bookends, to deliver me twice
— once at birth, and then, that second time?
Dear doctor, for Christ’s sake,
will you, at the very least,
have the dignity and good medical sense
to outlive me?