Dr. Gold & Dr. Green

Straus, Marc

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Dec-19-1996


In this poem a patient speaks to "Dr. Green," commenting on how much she likes him compared to her earlier doctor, "Dr. Gold," who wore a long face and would never smile. "Dr. Gold has track shoes on" but to Dr. Green she says: "You never seem / to be in a hurry even // though you're so busy . . . . " The patient would like "a little rest / before the next treatment, at least till / I'm stronger."

In the companion poem, "Dr. Gold & Dr. Green, II" (also found in One Word), the physician responds to his patient, Eleanor, who presumably wrote the first poem. He realizes that he himself is actually Dr. Green and Dr. Gold. Even though he tries to spend time with his patients, he now realizes that sometimes he must have appeared hurried and distant: "You tried / to say that each of us has two sides. / I wish I understood this before you died."


These two poems present an interesting pairing of patient voice and physician voice. They demonstrate the painful failure of communication that may occur, even in the best of circumstances when both parties have good will. The physician is powerful. The ill person is vulnerable.

Primary Source

One Word


Northwestern Univ.: Triquarterly

Place Published

Evanston, Ill.