67: Doctor Scheef by Mark Halliday

Doctor Scheef you probably tried hard
in 1971 at your clinic in Bonn
I assume you tried hard to save my mother
with your regime of enzyme injections
and 30 million units of Vitamin A

but you did not save my mother—
at best you gave her a little hope for a while
though I suspect she was too skeptical even for that
though she tried to believe for my father’s sake;

Doctor Scheef you needed to be a historic genius
but you were not!
And so my mother went on hurting
month after month with cancer in her vertebrae and her spine
and she died after three more years of hurting
since you were not a historic genius Doctor Scheef
—and you must be dead by now too
and forgiving you would make sense no doubt
but I’m not ready, maybe I am not yet tired enough
so I prefer to name you here sternly

rather than settle for the letting go in forgiveness
as I am still in the non-genius condition of wanting
targets for complaint therefore I say that in 1971
you should have been a hell of a lot smarter Doctor Scheef.


The poet’s work can be found in the volume, Losers Dream On.

Think about how the poem made you feel. Do you ever catch yourself angry at how mysterious even the smartest doctors in the world still view the human body? How they often have confident answers in so much, but are still stumped so often?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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