Now and Then

Playing doctor used to be something
where you touched someone in places
you have never touched before, wanting
so much to be touched as well, for those
thrills that came flying down through you.

These days, it’s a school computer game:
You touch a patient on the screen,
your hand moving, finger clicking
a mouse. And, though you may have
a partner, all you share is an image
on the screen—the object? To see
how far you get before the patient dies.

At seven and eight, Diana and I were
fighter pilots on her front porch:
shirts pulled up and buttons undone,
shivers flying inside the injured one,
setting the plane on automatic pilot,
attending to and binding the wounds,
bringing this best friend back to life,
only to be hit a minute later, and fall
into the lap and arms of such a summer game.



© 2002 Michael Knisely

Michael Knisely is an Instructor at Southeast Community College, in Lincoln, Nebraska, where his classes in composition and creative writing ask students to apply their life experiences to their narrative, lyric, meditative, and analytical writings, to persuade, cajole, and inspire others and themselves with their efforts, struggles, and insights. Michael called the Sonoran Desert his home for the fifteen years he lived in Tucson, where he earned his MFA in Poetry from the University of Arizona in 1989, where he worked with a spectrum of poets who pushed him to push himself. Having returned to his childhood state (Nebraska!) to parent his own son Noah (now nearing 18), Michael uncovers new challenges every day that keep him occupied and energized. Michael can be contacted at mknisely[AT] (replace [AT] with @).

For more of his work in TheScreamOnline, visit the Talent Index.