Ode to a 100-year-old practicing physician
The Friday afternoon when I arrived
they made me wait
‘till ten past five.
“Doctor is quite busy, see? Relax. Sit down. He knows you’re here. He knows he’s late.”
The jacket-length white coat—unspoiled and freshly pressed
bowtie in saffron,
a pallid shirt
dress pants, shoes, cow-lick to the side
unwavering the handshake—his slender frame in spite
bespectacled: his piercing gaze unflinching—a nod, a smile—bright-eyed
Bemused he listened
head slanted, perched high up on a stool, relaxed—the fingers intertwined
Retirement? He laughed. My goodness, to what end? A foreign word, no question—
frivolous, preposterous, practiced pray tell by amateurs
Each morning—new lessons, new riddles, new mysteries to solve—please, sir, a smarter suggestion?
Seventy-five years and more a doctor
Back then, middle of the war—
So limited our arsenal: morphine, curar’, and chloroform,
thiopental and ether too; alas, our sole antibiotic—feeble ol’ sulphonamide
for lifesaving penicillin—we waited ‘till the next year—nineteen-forty-two
You needed anything—you made it, designed it, sterilized, re-utilized—invention, our sole, and only guide
How do I stay current you ask?
Another laugh. I read, and I write, and I listen
Intention, convention—if not, the college will slam with detention
Each morning for close to an hour, first stretching, then running and lifting
No meat shall I eat but some fish
Then hurry to work and I wonder—‘bout new things I’ll learn on that day—and always, but always uplifting
The hour is up
I do notice. Forgive my insolence, dear doctor—last question
How at ease are you
in using computers, and gadgets, and latest ‘lectronic devices?
A moment I thought I had stomped him
Not slighted he grinned—an iPad is all that I use, my young friend—it always suffices
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