Nursing Home Doctors
After each lap around the circular hall
the aides smile, Hello, Doctor!
and he nods at their greetings
like a general inspecting his troops.
Dressed in the frayed polyester suit
I saw him wear on hospital rounds,
he cradles a baby-blue chart, and stops
at random doorways to review his records.
I say good morning and he studies me
in my white coat, like a skin lesion
he has seen only once in a textbook.
And I lead him to the door with a shingle
posted outside, his old oak desk
laid out with a blotter, fountain pen,
and a spoon for applesauce he eats
while he writes long, illegible reports,
falling asleep hours past midnight,
just as he did during forty years of practice,
in the arms of his worn-out leather chair.
--- From Secret Wounds
©2011 Richard M. Berlin