The Ladder

December 14, 2016
Richard M. Berlin, MD

Volume 33, Issue 12

Bolted to the bedroom loft, twenty feet high with lacquered sides and honey colored risers polished with pine-scented wax-these are the rungs I climb to the feather bed, candle, and bottle of red wine...

 

Bolted to the bedroom loft, twenty feet

high with lacquered sides and honey colored

risers polished with pine-scented wax-

these are the rungs I climb to the feather

bed, candle, and bottle of red wine

arranged under an open skylight

where heaven circles overhead, and my

ambition fades like the flicker of stars-

medical student, resident, fellow,

associate professor, just small steps

on a long, imaginary ladder.

Tonight I can’t even recall the title

of the first paper I wrote, can’t recall

the names of my favorite students who are

beginning their own climbs. But here I am,

still alive, a bit dizzy from the height,

holding on tight, trying hard not to fall.