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Poetry and Medicine
May 4, 2011

Lost Iambics: Long QT Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jama-archives.org.

JAMA. 2011;305(17):1740. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.499

I live in stops and starts and respites. Blood
startles ventricles. Electric haywire,
the pause between the beats misfires.
The heart, mortal fire, is misunderstood.
While the poets all agree the thrush is good
in syncopated song—yet the cease-fire,
the little lull in my heart is dire.
In strophes and squeegees of blood I would
calculate the incorrect split seconds
the spilt blood slackens. Current's breakdown:
the thrush's refrain my lost iambics, pace
sets and resets. Who has at the well drawn
water up knows the slow progress of flow—
cord's push, pull: heart's space between the spaces.

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