If I Were a Painter


If I Were a Painter

Psychiatric Times

July 2005


Issue 8

--for Susanne

I would paint you the indigo band of blue
on the horizon, the slick strands of kelp
floating in the cove, lichen on the rocks,
lovage in the seaside garden, and sunlight
at dawn glinting off a gull's white back.
If I were a painter you might love me
like the night the terns gathered in the bay
and the sun set through a sea of coral clouds.
I would paint over the days I hurt you,
though I know you would say there is nothing
more I can do to color your love for me,
our marriage like an oil-on-canvas, nailed
to an outside wall, the frame warped by sun
and rain, the colors still vibrant, still true.

Dr. Berlin is associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His book How JFK Killed My Father won the Pearl Poetry Prize 2002 and was published by Pearl Editions in September 2003. 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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