Poetry of the Times
The section begins with a photograph
of a "Brain Surgeon Banker" who died
in old age from miliary TB. Back to
the Class of '36 each doctor's cause
of death is detailed with a pathologist's
interstitial pneumonitis, gout, the text
so different from the obits in our
local paper, where people always "pass"
after "a brief illness." No, our doctor
tribe wants data: we know where babies
come from and where the echo of their
first scream ends. And we believe
the particulars of our own lives will lead
to different outcomes.
My eyes drift
back to the Brain Surgeon Banker's face,
nothing like the usual portrait of Death
cloaked in a black cape and clutching
his scythe. This time he sports a starched
white coat, stethoscope folded in his hand,
and a Parker pen's arrow clip attached to
his collar like Einstein's in the famous photo.
His eyes are rimmed with laugh lines, lips
sealed yet turned up in a gentle smile,
a face so warm and kind he could be
a colleague looking for new patients.
"Call me," he seems to be saying,
"I can make room in my schedule for you."