The Joy of Medicine


It’s about the man

who pilgrimages to Talladega every October

because you stented his widow maker

and the couple

celebrating their 60th

who asked everybody to stand up and clap

when you walked in to the VFW hall

and the time you were in the shower

and you thought about

what the wordy lady told you in the office

the day before

and you ordered the blood test

and prescribed the right pill

and all was well

and it would not have been


and looking back now

believe it or not

answering the stat page

at the Little League game

in the bottom of the 5th

right before

Maggie hit the ball to right field

and slid into third with a triple

and leaving the warm bed

with the candles burning

to speed to the ED

to sew up the drunk’s aorta

and when you got home

she was sleeping


but most of all

it is about the long haul trucker

who runs to Reno

twice a week

who doesn’t know

he should be dead


but you do.


Annals of Internal Medicine, 160:880, 2014 (winner, 2014 poem of the year)