Emory University
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Clinic for the Ages

By Dr. Clyde Partin

In their total ensemble of years
my nine afternoon patients
added up to an even seven centuries.
Seven hundred years of lived life,
the first two ninety-four each,
the average age seventy-seven-point
seven seven seven seven seven seven,
which seemed to mirror infinity,
the least-old only sixty
just like me
a stark reminder of my own mortality.

The two medical students
added youthful exuberance
and four-point-five decades
and it made me wonder
why some of these less-young patients
felt compelled to ask me,
Do you think I should see a geriatrician?
By mathematical default
I am one.

For during that half-day of clinic
I shepherded point-seven millennia
of rusting humanity
through another day
then smiled as I recalled
that the daughter of the first patient,
who graced me every Christmas
with a box of Harry and David’s pears
fruit so succulent, so sweet,
requested a photo of me
with her mother.

A few attempts
to get it right
then proudly she showed us
a picture for eternity
of an aging pair.

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