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SPEAK UP: Advanced Life Skills


doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000383098.20572.39

A poem by traumatic brain injury survivor Sari Friedman.



Sari Friedman has had three serious traumatic brain injuries. After the third—from a car accident—it took her five years to be able to read and write relatively well again. She coedited an anthology of poetry called The Light in Ordinary Things ( The members of her Life Skills class, along with her doctors and nurses, encouraged her to send this poem to Neurology Now.

For my Life Skills class at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, CA, on our last day.

We are the light that curls off waves.

We are the smoke that coils off nightmares.

It's hard to swallow.

Dangerous to walk.

Hilarious to watch us do math

and we may not remember the month.

But we all know the truth:

which is that everything's equal.

Snowflakes, skin color, test results,

space that may or may not extend forever—

None of the shadows or shadings are real.

It's like being under floodlights all the time:

Exposing every emotion. Magnifying sensation.

Revealing our spirits eternal as the stones

shining, rough-thrown, lovely

in the furthest depth of the pond.

©2010 American Academy of Neurology