The Grave on Perry's Peak


Poetry of the Times: The Grave on Perry's Peak

Psychiatric Times

October 2005


Issue 11

A Barred Owl's call wakes me from a dream:
hoo-hoo-Hoo-HOO in the moonlight,
hoo-hoo-Hoo-HOO on the wind
blowing down from Perry's Peak,
his call carrying the story of a high
mountain meadow, a single shot,
the body a hunter found in early April.

When I was last awake, I sunned myself
on the summit, read the poem carved
on a granite tombstone, slid my hand
over the smooth maple cross, and studied
the distant mountains leafing out in May,
the meadows an impossible shade of green.

And I catalogued the small offerings
scattered on his stone--shotgun shells,
pieces of polished glass, a few foreign coins,
and a tiny steel wrench I let myself imagine
I could use like a surgeon to fix a broken heart.

Dr. Berlin is associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Berlin recently established the Gerald F. Berlin Creative Writing Award at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the only medical student creative writing prize in the United States.

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