Patient, by Jonathan Fletcher
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
Every time we meet, you’re patient
with me. Gentle, too. And
I almost think we might be more
until you pull out the DSM-5, flip
to the back, thumb through the
appendix, locate the Fs. As
you run your finger down
the page, until you reach F33.41,
I again feel like a number.
But it’s worse when I check the
copies of my PET scans, MRIs.
On my brain, there’s more
blue and green, less white and
yellow. My hippocampus and
thalamus are smaller than most.
That must mean I’m dumb.
To loved ones, some people say,
though with insincerity, Were
it not for you,
I wouldn’t be here.
From the progress we’ve made,
at least you know I mean it.
You’re not the only one, though,
to whom I owe my health, life.
No, I must thank four others:
But there are still days when I
still struggle. More than once,
I worsened when you
adjusted the milligrams.
It’s easy to doubt then, question
the plan you cobbled together
self-assessments, notes you
scrawled in your writing pad.
On more than one occasion,
I’ve even lost my patience:
If you can diagnose me,
then treat me.
If you can’t treat me,
then love me.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Jonathan Fletcher, a BIPOC writer, currently resides in New York City, where he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He has been published in Arts Alive San Antonio, The BeZine, Clips and Pages, Door is a Jar, DoubleSpeak, Flora Fiction, FlowerSong Press, Lone Stars, New Feathers, OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review, riverSedge, Synkroniciti, The Thing Itself, TEJASCOVIDO, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Voices de la Luna, and Waco WordFest. His work has also been featured at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.
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