My First (And Last) Visit to Establish Care with Dr. F By Devon Balwit

My First (And Last) Visit to Establish Care with Dr. F

Bedside manner she has not got,
her first greeting to ask if I have life

insurance. I worry she plans to kill me
then and there, and glance, surreptitiously,

for a chute to the cellar. She listens
to me speak of sleeplessness and asks

if I want medication, but not the deeper
question of what I want, what is wanting—

security for my old age, a world
with whales and albatross.

By means of introduction, I mention
my always-busy mind, me, a poet,

and she diagnoses ADHD. I can
concentrate just fine, I say, but only

 on what you want to, I bet, she
interjects. Yes, I think, like most of us

here. She asks if I mind her listening
to my heart. I wish you would, I say.

For a moment, I feel the delicate
attention of hands, but then she hears

a heart murmur. What? I ask. At 55,
I have a grip on my malfunctions.

In my decades of exams, I’ve never
been told so. Or, she ponders, you might

 just be thin. Don’t you listen to the hearts
of thin people, I ask. Rarely, she replies

and recommends an EKG. For what?
I wonder. She tells me she doesn’t remember

her physiology from twenty years ago,
but knows it shows pathology. She

shows pathology, and I absent myself
mentally until our visit ends, and then,

from her practice. She has practiced
enough at making me feel dis-eased.

I bus my new wounds home, and know
the clinic an evil place for the well.

By Devon Balwit


Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. She has six chapbooks and two collections out/forthcoming in the world. Her poems have appeared here in The Rising Phoenix Review, as well as in The New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, Rattle, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat’s Ass Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.

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