Treasure Island

Robert Pinsky

(October 20, 1940 / New Jersey)

Doctor Frolic


Felicity the healer isn’t young
And you don’t look him up unless you need him.
Clown’s eyes, Pope’s nose, a mouth for dirty stories,
He made his bundle in the Great Depression

And now, a jovial immigrant success
In baggy pinstripes, he winks and wheezes gossip,
Village stories that could lift your hair
Or lance a boil; the small town dirt, the dope,

The fishy deals and incestuous combinations,
The husband and the wife of his wife’s brother,
The hospital contract, the certificate ...
A realist and hardy omnivore,

He strolls the jetties when the month is right
With a knife and lemons in his pocket, after
Live mussels from among the smelly rocks,
Preventative of impotence and goitre.

And as though the sight of tissue healing crooked
Pleased him, like the ocean’s vaginal taste,
He’ll stitch your thumb up so it shows for life.
And where he once was the only quack in town

We all have heard his half-lame joke, the one
About the operation that succeeded,
The tangy line that keeps that clever eye
So merry in the punchinello face.

Submitted: Monday, January 02, 2012

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