[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 54.205.176.107. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Citations 0
Poetry and Medicine
September 7, 2011

Prosector

Author Affiliations
 

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

Author Affiliation: Ballard Pediatric Clinic, Seattle, Washington (tmcmahon@u.washington.edu).

JAMA. 2011;306(9):917. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1196

This morning, on our walk between rain squalls
we circled the lake at the head of the Cayou Valley.
There, amidst an insistence of flickers, a burble
of robins, the rusty scrape of the red-winged blackbird,
we happened upon a black-feathered shape, which flew up
at our approach, into the trees. Where it had been,
what had seemed a rumpled blanket,
was a doe, no more than two days dead.
Ribs furled around a thorax
empty of lungs, empty of heart, open
to the thin mist of rain. And the ribs themselves,
pink and clean of meat, a lesson in anatomy taught
by the bald scavenger waiting above, waiting
to resume his lecture on our shared fate.

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview
×