The Annual Physical

The other day my doctor said, “The brain sends
A message to your bowel after eating.
Within twenty minutes of the last bite
The news has been received, decisions made
And orders given just like that.”  Except
Somehow, somewhere the message goes astray
In my case.  I thought of lines down, bridges out
And frantic traffic controllers alone
At this huge board of blinking lights, each one
A forty car freight stuck in the yard.

She took a look at my chart and asked me
How long my toes were numb.  And I thought that
Was pretty funny.  One year?  Two?  More?
I don’t know when I first knew I knew my toes
Were numb.  Who remembers things like that;
The first time in their life they can’t feel the floor?
I told her something, and she, satisfied,
Turned a page in my chart and looked again.
That was when I said, “I have a question.”
She looked up from my chart.  “Pretty,” I thought.
“Young.”  She smiled and waited.  “I’d like to know
If my chart could go into my coffin.”

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5 responses to “The Annual Physical

  1. funny,
    witty,
    beautiful poem!

  2. Kathy McGlaughlin

    Very funny indeed. The mental images you come up with are amazing.

    I am curious, though, why you put it in poem format? I think it might have been just as good in paragraphs. It seems, to me, though I am not a literary critic by a long shot, that the only thing that makes it a poem is the breaking of line. It reads like a story. A funny, witty, down to the core of life story.

  3. This is a delight, Peter!

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