On My Way To The Doctor

Stephen Nathan


on my way to glimpse my uncertain future

I see you walking toward me through the sidewalk swarm

we used to be friends


until the ruse of time

stole the years and dissolved us

no one's fault perhaps

and now...

I smile at the sight of you revealed through the crowd

a wish granted I never knew I made

and you see

the surprise of me surfaces for you with a wave and quickened pace

the city's racket cresting washing over us

cleansing everything but this moment

and we hug with years of unspent affection


you look good I say 

(he does 

robust athletic genetically cheerful)

so do you he lies

Christ how long has it been

Danny's party before I left for Brazil

we talk quickly 

trying to sweep up the spilled years

running down the list of questions we all have in reserve

job kids mates apartments

and stop for a breath when we run out of details

all useless really

just providing the sounds we're swapping

like birds

to let each feel the union 

the intercourse of the moment

we're usually too guarded to share

I'm so sorry I slept with your wife I don't say

hoping he never looked in that drawer

his eyes are vast and say he doesn't know

it's mine alone

another deed that festers in me

another small bomb of regret

perhaps one reason I have this appointment


we have to get together he says

a dinner

I'd love that I say 

and we both mean it

both believe we can reel in the past and make it now

at least I do


another hug

time kindly stopping again


and you're doing well he asks

studying my astigmatic appearance with concern now

yeah yeah just coming from the gym didn't have time to shower I lied

good then good

yeah good you too

I'm the same contact info

me too



once more we wrap ourselves in each other

soon he says

yes soon I hope

and filled with the warmth of us

I walk to the doctor to discuss my options.

Nathan began his professional life as an actor (originating the role of Jesus in Godspell) but moved into a career as a writer in the late 70s. For over 40 years he has primarily written for film, television and theater winning, among other acknowledgements, the Humanitas Prize, Writers Guild Award, and two Emmy nominations. Nathan has been writing poetry for years and has just decided to start sharing his work. He has recently been featured in Typishly, Cathexis Northwest Press, Paragon Press and Cultural Weekly. Instagram & Twitter @squarechicken

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