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Poetry and Medicine
January 11, 2012


Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to

Author Affiliation: Seattle, Washington (

JAMA. 2012;307(2):124. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1862

Black lace, a cascade—
if you could wear your grief
like the Spanish ladies
of those generations—
put loss on like a wardrobe
and then you wouldn't have to explain,
mourning more simply
without questions flocking,
beating you with midnight wings.
You’ve forgotten the sun-flavor
of oranges, the olive's sharp bite.
All your taste blends bland,
a pabulum. No wonder
you can't find an appetite.
Remember Rule #2: You must eat.
What does now taste like?
An old woman said an apple
should never be eaten alone.
Could this be Biblical?
It's just one question:
Can you come over?
Share a Gravenstein?
Later you can set out the Manzanillas.

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