By Joseph Hesch
Each new one shuffles in, poking a
silver-fringed or bald head inside the glass
to murmur or cough a reply to
“Any changes in insurance, dear?”
Around the room, rheumy eyes lift
and drop again, while the latest visitor scans
for an open seat, with no one on either side,
because you can’t be too safe these days.
This room is full of folks poring over
publications they normally wouldn’t pick up
to swat a wasp. But there’s not much else to do
except sit and fret about their ailments
or to fume over the fact
their appointment was scheduled
for a half-hour ago.
Perhaps they could look around,
trying to determine what one another's
troubles might be. But it would take
a mighty diagnostician to ascertain their problems
when all one can see are the tops of
forward-leaning heads, and all one can listen to are
quiet coughs or the buzz of even quieter conversation.
Me? I don’t want to know why they’re here.
I'm waiting for the Over-50 exam, which is
to medicine what the Early Bird Special is to dining.
Besides, I’ve got my own problems.
According to this magazine’s menu of maladies,
I’ll be having a delicious, malicious, pernicious anemia
…with a side order of andropause.