C Dale's recent post got me riled up little about homophobia, and it being one of the few remaining 'acceptable" prejudices (my words, not his). Here's a poem . . .
I’ve heard his story before. How a car
accident broke his spine
in three places, but the x-rays
and MRI don’t show it.
How he’s tried rehab, counseling, physical therapy.
How all he wants now is some Oxycontin
and I’m not giving it. Then we’re
through here, he says, and I close his file.
Damn fag he mutters
as he exits the exam room.
The words sting. Even in my white coat,
shielded by my stethoscope and tie.
Two words and I am in high school again,
backed against a locker,
coat collar clenched.
I’m in residency and the attending
surgeon is holding court over the open abdominal wound
of a young man with AIDS,
saying — for my benefit: When cattle
get an infection like this
we put them ALL to sleep.
Damn fag. How did he
know? Was it written
across my face?
Even after all these years.
Why am I ashamed?
(appeared in Prairie Schooner, Winter 2004)