A visit from The Healing Muse: 'His Back Pocket'
Deirdre Neilen, PhD, shares a selection from Upstate‘s literary journal, “The Healing Muse,” every Sunday on “HealthLink on Air.” Neilen is the editor of the annual publication featuring fiction, poetry, essays and visual art focused on themes of medicine, illness, disability and healing. Read The Healing Muse Cafe Blog.
Today‘s selection is "His Back Pocket" by Mick Cochrane. Order your copy of “The Healing Muse” today.
Deirdre Neilen, PhD: Mick Cochrane is a writer and professor at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. His poem "His Back Pocket" is dedicated to Dr. Joseph Leach, an oncologist in Minnesota, but it celebrates all physicians who keep patients hopeful and engaged through the roughest patches and yet stay realistic and honest and bear witness with their patients.
"His Back Pocket"
Don't worry he always says I've got
something else in my back pocket
he's got clinical trials he's got
off-label he's got stuff from Sloan
Kettering he's got what Lance
Armstrong juiced his team with
he's got more milestones he
tells you he's got your twins'
graduations he's got some new
theories his back pocket has
back pockets who's your tailor
you ask and he just laughs he has
your next birthday he's got Gamma
Knife and gene therapy and some
cocktail the Mayo Brothers don't
know about yet he's such a modest
magician he's got your trip
to California he's got stories
about remission like you
wouldn't believe he's got something
for nausea and pain and numbness
and tingling in your extremities
but you both know there's always
a last thing even in the deepest
pocket "time is an ocean"
you know what he's got
to show you "but it ends at the shore"
not today but soon you can see its outlines
almost feel the weight of the last
thing he will produce from his back