“Detached Concern” by Jack Coulehan

Jack Coulehan


My doctor’s not engaged enough
to touch my hand. I wonder where
her feelings are, the human stuff.

My doctor doesn’t take much guff
from wimps like me. Whatever care
she gages up, it’s not enough.

Detached concern is less than tough.
It’s thin and weak and pulses, bare.
The human feelings screw its stuff.

The pains I feel are fairly rough.
Detached, my doctor wouldn’t dare
engage them. They’re not clear enough

to measure with her scope and cuff.
Her brow is knit, her white coat there,
but touching isn’t—human stuff.

This illness wears me down. I slough
my hope in layers. Unaware,
my doctor’s not engaged enough.
She hides her feelings, does her stuff.

from Rattle #23, Spring 2005

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