It first appears in the guest-bath mirror,
beheaded and one arm missing
due to the angle I have of him
getting ready for his appointment.

The doctor won’t notice the white hairs
over the nipples like a hard frost
or the sag of the once-tight pecs.
The chart notes read, “Elderly white male.”

The years’ slow chisel doesn’t flatter
as paid sculptors did their patrons
with the stone breastplates of gods.
His good heart reigned in my childhood

but this emperor’s statue is all too real,
the bent back and the fleshy swing of triceps.
The young physician’s pose is classic.
He listens serenely, safe in his ancient art.