I have doctor phobia. Whenever I feel ill, my first thought is I hope I don't have to see a doctor. I've waited until I could barely breathe before seeking a diagnosis, and I've never bothered to X-ray various body parts when I've fallen despite the insistent pains. I think this Plume poem, "Plume Had a Sore Finger," by Henri Michaux explains my phobia perfectly. It opens like this . . .
Plume's finger felt a bit sore.
"Maybe you should see a doctor," said his wife. Often it's just a matter of lotion . . . "
Plume took her advice.
"Take off one finger," said the doctor, "and everything's perfect. With anesthesia, the whole thing takes six minutes at most. And since you're a rich man, you really don't need so many fingers. I'll be delighted to do the operation right away, and then I'll show you several sorts of artificial fingers, some of them truly exquisite . . . "
Translated by Richard Howard
From Someone Wants to Steal My Name, CSU Press, 888-278-6473
AWP in Minneapolis, and recommended reading
4 weeks ago