The Not Dead

Psychiatric Times, Vol 39, Issue 7,

"We call them The Not Dead when they crumple in an easy chair after chemo..."

POETRY OF THE TIMES

We call them The Not Dead

when they crumple in an easy chair

after chemo, our Not Dead caregiver group

lifting them back into the world

where we see each other caress

ripe yellow peaches at Bitteroot Farm,

or nod hello when cozied in a bookstore corner

reading Kübler-Ross On Death and Dying.

And we spread our summer blankets

on the life of Tanglewood’s lawn,

Not Dead cancer survivors sweating

tumor stage and survival rates,

Not Dead caregivers talking healthspan

and longevity, our lives embraced

by Beethoven’s urgent melodies,

the fresh cut grass a living carpet

where all of us lay down and dream

death will come to everyone except me.

Dr Berlin has been writing a poem about his experience of being a doctor every month for the past 24 years in Psychiatric Times™ in a column called “Poetry of the Times.” He is instructor in psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts. His latest book is Freud on My Couch.