Forgive me, Johann

Forgive me, Johann.
You were so quiet, uncomplaining
Your father seemingly so calm
Matter-of-fact in the way
He explained the course
Of your illness.
This can’t be anything serious,
I thought, as I surveyed the scene.
But then—
You cried out in pain
When I squeezed your calves,
You grimaced as you stood
Clutching the exam table,
Unable to take more than
Two halting steps toward
Your father’s outstretched arms.
I lifted you back up,
Tapped your knees with a rubber hammer
No response, no reflexive recoil
The Achilles were the same:
Absent.
Graciously, your father accepted
A copy of my note
The directions to the hospital
He lifted you into his arms
And carried you out through the door
As though you were a newborn babe
Wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Forgive me, Johann;
I neglected to say good-bye—
My next patient anxiously waited
In the wings.

2013 © Brian T. Maurer

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