My mom took me to
the doctor's office
when I was young,
whatever age you are
when you're seeing a 
pediatrician

The walls in the lobby were
red and yellow and off-white
and the air smelled
like band-aids
and in the corner there was a
red Fisher-Price car
that I guess you could sit in
if you wanted
but the waiting room was
too small
to drive it around
There were old
Highlights magazines
whose puzzles were already
solved and then
ripped to pieces
And that is where I'd wait
hours
until the fat little doctor
with the big voice
had time in his
doctor schedule
to assure my mother I was
in fact
still alive

At the end, the lady
at the front desk
would watch me walk toward her
down the hallway
and she'd offer me
a long pretzel stick
and smile
as though I had done a good job
not crying
as though she was so damn generous

Of course it was an attempt to
have kids associate getting a check-up
with
getting a treat
but now
pretzel sticks
just remind me of
the doctor's office
where I couldn't even fill out
a stupid
word search.
%d bloggers like this: