After a day of keeping up the shtick ,

As a colleague calls it, all the backslapping

And one-liners that put the staff at ease,

Dodging comebacks of passing gas and napping,

The old clichés of caring for the sick

While saving lives and stamping out disease,

I settle in for an all-night case on call

And let myself consider the surreal:

Some sorry bastard known as Stat Unknown 

Who passed out, I am told, behind the wheel

And managed to steer straight into a wall

Of the courthouse, no less, has now been flown

Here to purgatory, his position

Suspended somewhere between life and death.

That colleague told me once a good physician 

Is sometimes right, sometimes wrong, never in doubt .

Sobered with that thought, I draw a breath,

Hold it for a moment, let it out,

And bow my head to pray with all my might,

One sinner for the next, that I am right.