I greet you in my clinic, with a smile behind my mask
How are you feeling today, the standard question I ask
I focus on the usual, physical complaints
I want to ask you something else, but myself I restrain
I ask you if you’re exercising, eating right
Taking your medications as prescribed
Behind your mask, your true feelings are inscrutable
I’m quickly satisfied when you say yes, that is an answer suitable
Now the elephant in the room both of us can ignore
We proceed with the visit as we have done before..
What I want to ask you, and believe me, I do,
Is how are you really feeling mentally and emotionally too…
When I ask you to breathe deeply for examination
Does the phrase “I can’t breathe” invade your imagination?
I ask you how much exercise you get daily
But I want to ask you if you felt well walking at the rally…
I ask you if you have been eating right
But I want to ask you if anger has killed your appetite
Conversations about the pandemic were somewhat difficult I thought,
But what you’re going through now is so profound that I dare not
Bring it up, because I am ill prepared for such conversations
So I have been treating the issue with skillful evasion..
When you admit your compliance has been subpar
We blame it on the pandemic, the easiest excuse by far..
We wrap up the visit in a sterile, clinical way
I cannot even shake your hands these days to convey
My concern for your well-being, though I know
You are hurting, the lack of luster in your eyes does show
I go back to my desk, in dissatisfaction
At my inability to have a meaningful interaction