Class, Dismissed

No country for old women,
this United States.
No country for those afflicted
unless with wealth.
No matter what
(I thought)
No matter who
(I was sure)
No matter the matter
at the bottom of it all
(I am there)
Right would prevail
and those who ail
(like me)
would be looked after
even having no money.
I was wrong.
Dead wrong.
Many still believe as I did
but only because they have not yet
felt poverty’s slap;
have not yet had
security’s blanket wrenched
from their anxious fingers;
have not yet heard their cries for help
echo in opulent halls.
Shocked; saddened;
I learned today that
new doctors—
taught no diagnostic techniques—
shun the human body.
Afraid to touch the patient
(when did this happen? how many lawsuits did it take?),
they only inject and prescribe poisons.
Stern glasses shield me none too well
from the fear in his eyes,
and they protect him not at all from the sight of the poor woman
from a class begging
not to be dismissed.
The bell’s rung.
Its peal echoes in my silent tears.

Salt Lake City, July 17, 2012
A Disappointing Day indeed

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