The physician prepares himself to deliver the news of a death to a family. His white coat symbolizes this role in his professional life; and when he takes it off at home, he becomes only a man with chores to do around the house. Yet that chore, replacing a lightbulb, seems to symbolize rebirth and the sustenance derived from personal life which allows the physician to continue in his often difficult role.


Also published in Stone's collection, Music from Apartment 8: New and Selected Poems (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 2004)

Primary Source

The Smell of Matches


Rutgers Univ. Press

Place Published

New Brunswick, N.J.