Questions at “Doctor’s Appreciation Night” Dinner

December 1, 2010

When did my colleagues grow so old? When did the women and men I’ve known for thirty years start to stoop and tremble? When did all the old Chiefs die?

When did my colleagues grow so old?

When did the women and men I’ve known

for thirty years start to stoop and tremble?

When did all the old Chiefs die?

Who are the young ones who have replaced them?

Why are there more administrators here

than doctors? And why is the new Chief

buttering the hospital CEO’s bun?

Maybe I should turn off my bad attitude

with a gin and tonic, lighten up and grin

at the gray-bearded man talking to me

from inside the cracked ballroom mirror:

Grow up. Medicine is business.

Only patients’ appreciation matters.

And don’t you look funny in the role

of rebel, wearing your silk sport coat

and French shoes, an old stethoscope

in one pocket, a pad with scraps

of half-written poems in the other.