From a manuscript in progress.
Oh no, when I said
that playing doctor is a violence,
I did not intend for your piercing vision
to sense that I am an angry man.
What kind of English are you
in the presence of a Palestinian learning his trade?
Why did it escape us that
my eyes are on your pockets,
your body’s given over with rights,
the ear I float over your tummy,
the rubber hammer,
my fingertips that compose your exposure.
All have become needles and radiation
before one hello is uttered
and after your next appointment.
Oh yes, it’s a violence, compassion
in servitude of a degrading corpus
more precious than most. In Gaza
a girl and her brother rescued their fish
from the rubble of airstrikes.
A miracle that its tiny bowl didn’t break.
And doctors of all subspecialties there
go up in dust, while here
the customer’s always right.
And not everyone’s a physician
but sooner or later everyone
fails to heal.