The Good Doctor
for William Carlos Williams
“You now officially have more information about me
than any other person on the planet,” I said,
handing over five small-print pages
where I checked family history
boxes beside disorders and cancers,
X-ing them hard,
layering death-black ink like superstitions
while tallying loves and losses,
counting on confessions to keep me safe.
In the waiting room, my mind wanders
as I wonder whether a sinning priest
can confess to himself.
Here, I think of you, William Carlos Williams,
the good doctor,
a wound in one hand,
a salve in the other,
never waiting in this room
to hear the sound of your own name.
You, the diagnostician,
must have known always what you had,
but in this waiting room
a woman who cannot heal herself
I finger-trace cures into idle hands,
stand by for white-coat wonders.
I want to write her well like you,
to save all the plums for her,
push her in red wheelbarrows home
where she can dance naked in front of a mirror,
afraid only of waking the baby,
her sweet Kathleen.
I am no cure.
I can only put her in a poem.