The clinic stood at the top of a mountain
Where each more distant row of peaks
Was a paler shade of blue. On the wall
The icon of the spine was carved in stone
And flanked with laurel leaves.
The chiropractor probed the tender skin
Below the jaw. His fingers climbed
The dimples of the vertebrae,
And then he lay his palm upon his hand
And slammed the small of the back.
In the lobby there were pictures on the wall
Of the doctor hunting wildebeest in Africa.
He has been dead for years.
It would be long before I heard such words
As "quackery" or "placebo."
But when the ribbons of the wind
Form long and narrow clouds
That span across the sky,
I think our planet has a backbone
That holds horizon to horizon.
And I recall a poster on the wall
In a gentle, gloomy corner of the clinic.
It was a bridge across a humbling wood,
With words that read to childhood's eyes
A solemn, stirring creed:
Give the world your best
And the best will come back to you.