Expert Witness

Psychiatric TimesPsychiatric Times Vol 28 No 4
Volume 28
Issue 4

Richard Berlin, M.D.: “There is something about the condensed pressure of poetry that feels very natural to me.”

I’m driving the MassPike west

just before sunset, blacktop cleared

of snow, the only car for miles

after a late April storm. The distant

silhouettes of bare trees line up

along the Berkshire hills like the stubble

of my three-day beard, and wild clouds

spin arcs of steel-bar-blue, Creedence

on the radio singing “Fortunate Son,”

me remembering my father

like I always do at dusk on the highway,

1954, riding shotgun in our new Olds-

mobile sedan on Route 1, traffic

streaming toward us from the glow

of New York City, my father warning

me that twilight and dawn are the most

dangerous times to drive. In a few days

I will listen for his voice again when

I turn around and drive east at sunrise,

rehearsing my testimony for the trial

of a drug dealer accused of murder.

“Crazy or sane?” they will ask me,

“Life in a hospital ward or slow death

in a prison yard?” The defendant’s father

will be speeding down the MassPike, too,

the sun’s glare filling our eyes with tears,

both of us driving blind.

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