Visit to the Geriatric Doc by Alan Walowitz

Visit to the Geriatric Doc

Though young, it seems like he was born for this,
the way he can tell an old guy
there’s a problem without revealing much at all.
But who could refuse more blood work—
sort of free on Medicare—
though the waiting could wear you down to a nub?
I try my oughta-be-retired Geritol joke
and he says, What’s that?
and I answer, For tired blood,
and he goes, Hmmph, with half a smile
and one eyebrow gently raised
to acknowledge—while mostly consumed by his phone—
he hasn’t the faintest what I’m talking about.
Then he chokes my arm with a rubber band to pop my vein,
no gentle man, this one, for all his politesse
and says, You’ve got good veins,
and I want him so to address me as Pop.
I’d say, Thanks, Son—cause we’re beginning to feel like family—
with all the attending discomfort
of knowing everything about each other
that we’re ever likely to know.
And this visit just the beginning;
and, sure as I’m sitting on the edge of his table
chilled in my undershirt,
it will not be a happy end.

by Alan Walowitz

Editor’s Note: They say that age is just a state of mind, but it’s also stuffing your brain full of memories that young folk don’t understand. Mortality tends to catch up with us in the end, much like the last line of this poem.