Chasing Olives

Our lives outside Medicine can fortify and enrich us.  We invite readers to submit their “extracurricular” creativity to decorate our scientific offerings.

Phil Cozzi is an award-winning physician-poet and this is his second submission to the AnnalsATS blog. You can read his first piece, Respecting Fredo, here.


A combined 188 years old, my father’s hands

Don’t work.  He holds his fork too close

To the end, like a dart, and chases

An olive around his plate as it traverses

An oil slick shaped like South America.

Playful and stubborn, the green oval of stone and meat

Will not relent.  When I make suggestion,

His sideways glance informs me both “Stay out of this,”

And “I’m having too much fun.”  Two

Opponents, each thick-skinned, one on one

Ancient warriors in a mini porcelain coliseum

With survival at stake.  I read of a man

Who traveled to every country on the planet

For the happiness of pursuit.  This my father found

On a Wednesday night at Al’s Restaurant

On Cermak Road in Berwyn, Illinois.


Phillip J. Cozzi


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