Carbine-carrying customs men
searched me at the airport, rifled
my suitcase before they let me fly
into the wind and the anxious peace
of my office. Patients straggle back
on schedule, rumpled and loose
as unpacked laundry, return
what they borrowed:
my small wooden clock,
the nautilus shell, a framed butterfly.
A few unfold soiled notes I signed
on crisp white paper weeks ago
with today's date and time.
They ask if I had a good trip,
thank me for coming back
like passengers thank the captain
when they stumble out
after two hours of turbulence.
If only I could take each one in my arms,
hold them long enough to say yes,
I'm here, I thought of you at 30,000 feet,
remembered you at Van Gogh's portrait
of the sad Dr. Paul Gachet, tell them
the times I, too, was violated,
my life flying past at 6 miles a minute.
5/99 Read more of Dr. Berlin's work.