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.

 


 

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