I suppose you could call me heartless
As a dull anvil clanking in a sodden barn,
The damp wood too lazy to echo your pain;
And your limbs twisted like great roots,
Your hearts rank melons bursting with fluid,
Your tidal headaches, your equatorial fevers
Were all grist for my scientific mill,
My hands cold and precise like metallic probes
On your beaded foreheads.
I suppose my brief visits and cryptic prognoses
Do little to comfort your collapsing veins.
You ask for a word, I spout statistics.
Your skeletal hands pray for light
I check your pupils. Do you understand?
It is not that I care not for healing
If only the power would come;
But science is an impotent matchstick
Broken in death’s fingers.
I have never collected moths
But you are pinned somehow on my mind’s wall
Several hallways from heart.
Allow me this distance,
Allow me not to weep.
Should those dark waves with their thousand eyes
Once spill over the dike, I do not know
What sort of god I should become
Most likely a madman
But never again your doctor.
C. E. Chaffin