Poetry of the Times
Pink anemones at my feet nod
and wave in the southern breeze.
Monarchs spread their wings
on an Adirondack chair while
I fill my mouth with raspberries
picked from our heavy canes.
A New Yorker story I'm reading
describes a 23-year-old soldier
in Iraq killed when shrapnel
smashed his skull just below
the helmet line, his parents
back home, grieving, my own
daughter, exactly his age
ribbon-dancing in China,
her biggest risk being run over
by a Shanghai taxi. And I'm
like the last bluebirds feasting
on ripe fruit before their journey
south, summer's last sweet taste
filling my mouth, staining my
fingers red as I ask myself how
I can complain about billing rates
and medical bureaucracy,
how I dare to complain
about anything, anything at all.
Dr Berlin is associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. He recently established the Gerald F. Berlin Creative Writing Award at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of only a few medical student creative writing prizes in the United States.