Three decades since my first visit

and my doctor’s retiring.

Mounds of surgical gloves,

trees of tongue depressors,

lakes of IV’d blood drawn from

clouds of tombstone gray grief,

cry stoic tears today.


I wait my turn this

last time, vow to get

personal. White wall of

lab coat receding, I

let loose pent-up

passion. “Enjoy your

retirement,” I enthuse.


“Will do,” I hear in the

voice he says “Cough.”




G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, teaches at Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. He retires in June 2016 because his university is closing. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Mutiny Does Not Happen Lightly, Long Dark River Casino and Vandals In The Bomb Factory. His most recent poems have been published in Dead Snakes, Poppy Road Review, Writing Raw, Inkstain Press, Verse-Virtual, Eunoia Review, Squawk Back, Whispers, and Poems and Poetry. Contact at gheathorov@gmail.com.