The Magistrates

September 13, 2019
Richard M. Berlin, MD

Volume 36, Issue 9

My musician patient in a fetal curl, Tchaikovsky’s “Meditation” plays an endless loop against this climate controlled conspiracy of monitors and machines...

 

My musician patient in a fetal curl,

Tchaikovsky’s “Meditation” plays

an endless loop against this climate controlled

conspiracy of monitors and machines,

scattered clouds in the picture window

behind him arranged like crash cart cotton,

the volunteers’ rose garden a hemorrhage

of reds punctuated by river birch

more radiant than my white coat,

two crows perched motionless on a branch,

dusky beaks and brown eyes trained

on our window, wild magistrates

judging the way I broke bad news-

how I pressed his hand, absorbed tears,

held our silence inside Tchaikovsky’s

embrace, sky suddenly cinematic,

thunderhead crescendo, curtains of rain,

trees bowed in musical submission,

courtyard cleared, only the crows

clawed down to deliver a verdict,

room blacked out, machines mute,

midnight wings spread to cloak

a partner lit by lightning.

Dr Berlin is Instructor in Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA. ❒

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