Med school finals, ten backpack pounds of biochem hauled for months, my epiphany: I would never know more about glucose metabolism than that morning...
Med school finals, ten backpack pounds
of biochem hauled for months, my epiphany:
I would never know more about glucose
metabolism than that morning, another
“Pass” on my permanent record of forgotten
scores-SATs, MCATs, USMLEs-numbers
placed like bets in a bookie’s ledger.
Now I play for higher stakes, and today
I hit all my numbers, a trifecta of patients
treated, charted, and billed,
every intervention evidence-based,
delivered knowing I’d fail the exams
my med student daughter nailed this week,
though I can’t convince her no one will die
when she forgets a step in the Krebs cycle.
But I haven’t confessed I’m cozy
with the insurance mob, how they decided
to skim another percent off my take.
She doesn’t know they’re into me deep,
demanding records of patients’ private
confessions. They don’t buy betrayals
with smashed knees or cement shoes,
just audits rammed into my temple
like a Glock muzzle, sweat bullets
dripping relentless as a film noir faucet,
each drop hitting louder than the last,
heart pounding, no one to hear my scream.
Dr. Berlin is Senior Affiliate in Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. E-mail: Richard.Berlin@gmail.com. His most recent collection of poetry, PRACTICE, is published by Brick Road Poetry Press.