Photo by Matt Dodd
for Anthony Fauci, M.D.
The most trusted man is grandfatherly, slight
of build, bespectacled. Brooklyn accent.
He warns us not to touch our face.
He rubs his forehead. We anxiously await:
Just tell us what to do. No sugar-coating.
The grandson of immigrants grew up
in Italian-Jewish Bensonhurst,
rode his bike delivering the meds prescribed
by his pharmacist father. The family lived
above the drugstore. Just 80 minutes each way
by bus & subway stop to the Catholic high school
in Manhattan that prepared him for Holy Cross.
The Jesuits taught him Latin, Greek & philosophy.
Just a few years ahead of Billy Collins.
First in his class at Cornell Med, but something
more than science gave him the gift to truly see
the humanity of his patients.
During the AIDS epidemic, he’d take any punch
Larry Kramer gave him. Angry, damn right!
He walked into Castro District bath houses,
earned the trust of those at-risk, those afflicted,
urged them into clinical trials that saved
who-knows-how-many lives. Now he stands
before a reckless President, explaining
patiently, painstakingly — the prognosis.