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Poetry and Medicine
November 23/30, 2011


Author Affiliations

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

Author Affiliation: Newburyport, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2011;306(20):2196. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1542

Hangman as bellwether, we uncover death
and our cradlesong between the infant-cry
and the coffin wood. Tether to tether,
reiterative as a silken Chinese box, untie
the long unfolding creases
of proteins that whorl and chain us,
weave and web us—shards and pieces
assembling the pulse of us nonplus.
Blood marries the marrow.
The womb is a star in fateful
orbit, and our sorrow is the Pharaoh's sorrow:
tomorrow is untranslatable—
the tomb's gilt-painted eye opens
to the next life that dust and bones emends.

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