Author's Note: This was originally published in the fanzine I Ain't No Doctor, from Neon RainBow Press. I apologize for its being free verse -- I prefer meter, rhythm, and rhyme myself -- but this is the way Nathan Jackson dictated to me.


I Ain't No Doctor

by Susan M. M.

I ain't no doctor,

Never said I was.

Just patching wounds and poulticing

Because …

'Cuz healing calls me,

The way cards call to Ezra

Or pretty girls to Buck.

Can't do much –

Just splint and set broken bones,

Stitch up cuts,

Put liniment on bruises,

Brew willowbark tea,

Say a prayer,

And bandage 'em up as best I can.

Got me a dream, a foolish dream.

To be a real doctor:

So's I could save the ones I bury now,

So I'd have more in my kit

Than whiskey and wishes and willowbark tea,

So I could heal the sick,

Not just dig out bullets and knife cuts.

Ain't gonna happen.

I was man-tall afore I learned to read.

I'd never be able to suss out

College books

Even if I could afford medical school,

Which I can't.

I ain't no doctor – ain't never gonna be.