Berlin Wall

September 1, 2004
Volume 21, Issue 10

I sit with my patient but can't tune into another painful story.

I sit with my patient but can't tune in
to another painful story.
A July breeze sighs rugosa rose
and fresh cut grass through my open window.
Across the lawn, two tanned
and pony-tailed men lay brick
four stories up the new clinic wall,
so young, they still stroll
the thin scaffold without fear.
I drift back to the confused architecture
of early adolescence, when kids taunted
Berlin Wall! Berlin Wall!
across the wet summer my father began
his dying and my mother her 10-year grief.
It was the time I learned to daydream
out windows, cover loss with brick,
until I became a walled city,
the free world all around,
a barb-wired climb the only way out.