I am not that kind of doctor

posted Nov 6, 2007

You can keep your Staph
to yourself. I can help you
only with your pronouns.

Here. You sit there.

I.    I will stand there.
II.   or here.
III.  If you sit on the desk.
            A.    I cannot warm you.
            B.    but I can toast you
                        1.    and possibly buckle you.
                        2.    It is not my job
                        3.    to hand out silicon,
                        4.    Kleenex or
                        5.    scrips for easing
                        6.    flight anxiety.
IV.   But if you sit here
V.    or stand against the wall
VI.   then the you that flexed and brayed
            A.    can be the me
            B.    that big and bucked
            C.    the exchange takes more than citrus
            D.    more than a collapse of lung
                        1.    More than salt
                        2.    More than boiled lance
                        3.    More than lanced boil.
                        4.    More than tomato salad
VII.  What you eat
VIII. becomes you
IX.   which is not to say
X.    I’ll give you that medicine
XI.   you claimed you were looking for.
XII.  But you will rest better at night
            A.    dreaming not of white scab
            B.    or yellow sleep
            C.    but of the beauty you found
                        1.    at the turn
                        2.    of the wheel
                        3.    on the office chair
                                    a.    that slipped over
                                    b.    your skirt
                                    c.    and tugged on that
                                    d.    recipe you call paper.

Nicole Walker’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, Shenandoah, Bellingham Review, Fence, Seneca Review, Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Ninth Letter, and crazyhorse, among other journals. A recent NEA grant recipient, she teaches creative writing at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.