Dogg In Triage

He wakes up in a dream of birdsong and sun-splash through high windows,
And he’s got himself laced to a hospital bed amidst a mess of
Hospital beds that are all—must be his vision–bobbing like rafts
In the sea, stormy sea, with now and then someone in a
……..White coat
Passing by, who’s apparently spent time as a waiter, for how well
He can ignore the clientele, R.L. Dogg in particular.
So many things Dogg’s read about–war and famine and disease
…………….And untimely grief–have failed to happen.
He’s seen them on TV too.
Dafur! Horrible! Sudan! Horrible! Rwanda! Thicks the blood with cold.
And then Dogg wakes up in the a.m. and all is well.
…………….All is well with him.
…………….Dogg!
Then he saw the red and gray pissed-off Corona ball on TV and now it’s him
…………….And he’s it.
…………….He!
…………….Dogg!
…………….Tag, you’re it, Dogg. Dogg’s it!
Triage, that’s what’s going on here. They’re picking the ones
…………….Who’re gonna get tested, treated, rescued from the angry sea
Where Dogg’s trying to pilot his mattress raft.
…………….A sheep and goats situation.
…………….Some will be. Some not.
…………….Dogg wants to say that he still has contributions to make.
…………….And not minor.
…………….He has a letter from his dean!
…………….One from the U. president too.
Dogg sleeps and dreams, maybe sleeps, maybe dreams,
……..That the white coat maître-d’ of a doc stops
…………….And asks Dogg why he should get the cure,
And all Dogg can think to say is “I’m writing an important book, an
…………….Important book.”
White coat seems to take an interest. On what pray tell, on what?
Reincarnation, he says. Immortality.
Which is not in any way what he’s doing.
He’s writing about Ralph Waldo Emerson and the spirit of America.
Which no longer exists.
White coat turns away. Does Dogg hear him mutter:
“Some primary research is coming your way.”
But no Doctor would say that. Would he?
Would he? No real doctor would have that to say!

Mark Edmundson

Mark Edmundson

Mark Edmundson is University Professor at the University of Virginia and the author of Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals and The Heart of the Humanities: Reading, Writing, Teaching.His book on Walt Whitman is forthcoming from Harvard in April.
Mark Edmundson

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Author: Mark Edmundson

Mark Edmundson is University Professor at the University of Virginia and the author of Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals and The Heart of the Humanities: Reading, Writing, Teaching. His book on Walt Whitman is forthcoming from Harvard in April.