The Diagnosis

October 6, 2011
Richard M. Berlin, MD

Volume 28, Issue 10

I don’t like to use the worn out word . . . “bruise” in my poems, but this morning . . . one appears on my inner thigh

I don’t like to use the worn out word

“bruise” in my poems, but this morning

one appears on my inner thigh

like an unwelcome clich. A hypochondriac

would see these broken vessels as a death

threat, but I stay calm, accepting

my end will come, perhaps on an autumn

day like today, when I am the only doctor

in the house. Practice has taught me

to keep my distance, suppress anxiety,

and to know I will arrive at the diagnosis

if I relax and focus, like the way I know

October when I smell oak leaves

and see scarlet light, from the music

wind scrapes with half-frozen limbs.