Full Disclosure

You need to know –
            that behind that white lab coat and stethoscope
            behind that warm and caring smile
            which seems engaged and engaging
            behind the façade of cocksure confidence
            radiating from a scientific face

I have been –
            too self-absorbed to listen to the wings of your pain
            beating against the glass
            too filled with theory to allow for facts
            too filled with facts to allow for theory
            too filled with me to allow for you
            too distracted by your breasts
            too confused by your eyes
            to hear your voice
            too tired. I have been too tired.
            Angry, too. I have been sullen and deaf
            annoyed when you don’t fit a mold
            and even more when you do.

You should be warned –
            that behind that rapt clinical concern
            I am thinking of baseball or of my children
            and stacks of papers stacks of charts
            I am thinking of the clock
            I am thinking of the case presentation
            that we can make from your grievous ruin
            and not of you.

Despite my pose of loving all, as St. Francis fed his birds,
            there are a few I’d feed poison if I could.

You need to know –
            that behind that white lab coat and stethoscope
            is an ordinary man
            made of ordinary clay
            in the ordinary way.

Ross Neisuler is a retired primary care doctor from Schenectady, NY. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1966, and completed residency at Bellevue Hospital and Harlem Hospital in New York City.