"I remember sitting like my patients when time expired, entire lives grasped in a 50 minute hour..."
POETRY OF THE TIMES
I remember rain hammering a green tin roof,
the light at each prescribed hour.
I remember perfumes and anxious sweat,
who preferred the big leather chair
and who liked to hide in the sofa’s corner.
I remember watching hairlines recede,
weight gained and lost from faces
like snow drifted high and melted by sunlight.
I remember empty men who devoured my words
and those too full of themselves.
I remember invisible families
I could describe as if gazing at an old photo,
how people rehearsed new lines
as if I was a stage in a foreign city.
I remember women and men on fire
and the frozen who needed me for kindling.
I remember forgetting
a session with a man whose words
whipped me like his father’s belt,
my small amnesias for anniversaries,
who said what when,
and how much my lapses hurt them.
I remember sitting like my patients
when time expired,
entire lives grasped in a 50 minute hour,
how at baffled moments
I leaned too far back in my rocker
and knew the fear of falling.
Dr Berlin has been writing a poem about his experience of being a doctor every month for the past 25 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.