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Doctor Friendly

ISSUE:  Summer 2011

He was an example of anti-nominal determinism,
though he was friendly in manner, kindly
explaining that my light headedness
and the cold nausea moving through me
probably, most likely, was the Novocain

he’d shot twice into a vein or vessel,
instead of numbing the surrounding nerves
and tissue—and that’s why my heart was racing, too—
but he could try again, though only once more,
for that was all the dose a male my weight could handle.

Maybe, sitting in the chair, blinded by the watery
examination lamp, and still feeling the heavy weight
of the x-ray bib across my chest and abdomen,
I didn’t have the distance I needed to make a good decision.
It was like the time I was thrown out the door

of my van on the second or third roll, and landing
somehow conscious but not unscathed in the road,
my only thought was to sit down, right where I was,
just for a moment, to collect myself, which is precisely
what I was doing when a passerby urged me to get up

and go with him to the shoulder of the road.
And that’s what I did and that’s what Doctor Friendly
should have done, suggested I lie calmly in the chair,
take a minute to compose myself, and then reschedule.
What idiot, blind, fearful, un-numbed part of me

assented to the third injection, I know well,
for who can refrain from administering
the shock or current, cinching the collar, or denouncing
the illiberal rule laid down for the liberal cause?
Who can concede to better judgment and be grateful

for the stranger who leads you from the road
and stays until the cops arrive,
or wave off the final swab of numbing gel,
that brought me to the brink again
beneath Doctor Friendly’s masked, hovering face.


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