Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Check-Up

The doctor is a white bird
Under a fluorescent sun.
I am a little frightened fish
Half mermaid, half undone.

He asks, "What brings you in today?
What do you mean by appearing here this way?
Have you had anything to eat?
Grasses, communion, meat?

Have you ever wondered how a raindrop stays round?
Or why they always fall?
What's the big attraction with the ground?
How old are you? Any idea at all?

Sexual partners?
Out to their families?

What drugs have you taken?
This morning?
Last week?
Can you tell me?
Did you bring them?
Can you speak?

What did your father die of?
What did your relationships die of?
Or do they still persist?
Is there anything I've missed?

When you were a child,
Any fevers, coughs, or chills?
Was there one particular day
When you were most desperately, painfully ill?

When your heart beats,
Is it like a Chesapeake & Ohio train?
Are your ribs the track, your legs the trestle?
Does it rattle through your brain?

Or is it more like the lazy waves
Rolling in off the lake in July?
If you remember the time you had a hand to hold,
Will you act the girl, and cry?

All right.
I see.
None of this is exact.
None of this is free.

How do you like the paper gown?
Are you afraid of needles, sharps, and pokes?
Do you think you could go like this, for me?
Do you think this is a joke?

You can get dressed now, we're done.
Did you feel the need to pray? To dissociate? To come?
It's all normal.
Take three of these.
Call the desk with questions, or if you start to seize."

The doctor is a white bone,
His diploma terra cotta;
And I am a little frightened fish
Slipping back into the water.



Lynn said...

This is so lovely - all good questions! I was mesmerized by the time I got to the middle - I love the thought of a heart beat akin to a Chesapeake & Ohio train - rattling through your brain.

Daryl said...

White coat syndrome strikes again

Sioux said...

I agree with Lynn. The stanza that begins, "When your heart beats..." is brilliant.

How come my doctor visits are so dull and dry, compared to yours?

Brian Miller said...

doctors always leave me feeling exposed...and more than just the gown...questions, questions...and probes...

Marion said...

Man, I could feel this right down to my toes. I have a dr. son-in-law and every time I ask him a medical question, he replies, "That's not my specialty." LOL! (He's a surgeon.)

Awesome write, dearest!

Love & Blessings,

Laurie Kolp said...

I agree... the part about the heart was awesome. Sounds like the doctor has no bedside manner.

hedgewitch said...

You obviously did not go to Dr. Feelgood. A cerebral and psychic check up straight from the ouija board, and there's no right answers for the spirits because they have them all in their own little cookie jar. But they are awfully picky if this doesn't satisfy them. I love especially the opening and closing bookends that support with lyric hands the dark leather of this medical encyclopedia of the soul.

The Mighty Quinn said...

you had me thinking "gahhhhh noooo" and feeling uneasy. Nice write. I like how it begins and ends in a similar manner and somewhere in the middle it kind of takes a side road.

Mama Zen said...

This is so wickedly, darkly sinister! I love it.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Gloriously wonderful, and now I may put off the doctor stuff for yet another week!!!!

~ Tabitha ~ said...

You are such a strong n vivid writer !

HermanTurnip said...

So nice I read it twice. Loved the cadence and the dark play on words. If given the choice, this is one doctor that I'd do my best to avoid!

Cloudia said...

deceptively childlike -
a deep, educated, poetic child...

Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral




Miss `Chievous said...

With your simple words, there is darkness. I like how how your poem speaks to me like a real person. Lovely. Just lovely.

Lolamouse said...

My brain always goes totally blank when a doctor asks me questions. Suddenly I become dumb as a bag of rocks! It's so humiliating.

Lydia said...

I think of all your poems that this is my favorite so far. It goes right to the mystery of the human body and the vulnerability of the patient. Marvelous, Shay.