If Reconsidered (or Kipling at the Teaching Hospital)

If you can harness the power of the sun, and use it
To maim, debase, and defile; if you can take Merck’s
Suitcase full of money in exchange for articles praising
Vioxx, and then watch as tens of thousands die, felled

By the hand of Judas; if you can drown a woman in a
Gelid sea of lithotomy, while threatening to withhold birth
Control, the demons of perdition dancing in the night; if
You can hand out opioids like candy on Halloween, while

Entire worlds are obliterated, while you sit poolside basking
In the sun, shattered sacrosanct glass lost on the cliffs of
Pandemonium; if you can withhold long-term chemotherapy
Side effects to those who are at their most vulnerable, and

Then drop a hundred dollars on a steak without a care; if
You can violate a do-not-resuscitate order on a 92-year-old
Veteran, and then wink at the medical student who looks to
You for guidance; if you can do unnecessary prostatectomies,

Preying on the frightened and manipulating their fears; if you
Can teach trainees to do practice pelvics on anesthetized
Patients, where the zone of anarchy reigns over the angels
Damned; if you can prescribe psychotropic drugs to children,

Brutalizing their tender undeveloped young minds, while the
Death knell of Lucifer undrowns into the night, the armies of
Liberty lost beyond all meadows; then Hell is yours and all the
Realms within it, and what’s more, you’ll be an attending my son

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.