Eden and I Are Playing Go Fish (Susie Berg)

She wears a pink cap to cover her bald head.
She misses her hair.
A lot.
She’s five.
There’s a tumour on her brain.

Do you have any…
She stops
and studies her cards,
points one by one, silently counting spades.


Her mother shakes with laughter,
clears away tears, touches
Eden’s chin.

You make me so very happy.

Berg, Susie. “Eden and I Are Playing Go Fish.” Body & Soul: Narratives of Healing from Ars Medica. Eds. Crawford, Allison, et al. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012. 136. Print.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the function of silence in this poem? Eden is “silently counting spades” while her mother is laughing “soundlessly.” Moreover, pauses punctuate this poem: “she stops and studies her cards”; “Do you have any…/…sixes?” What can silence reveal to us about human emotions? How can we harness the power of silence in our own clinical interviewing?
  2. “You make me so very happy,” concludes the speaker at the end of this poem. In what ways can our interactions with patients be therapeutic? Are there also ways in which our patients can heal us?

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