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Poetry and Medicine
April 17, 2013


Author Affiliations

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

Author Affiliation: Hunstville, Alabama (

JAMA. 2013;309(15):1564. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.125073

“He's a real trouper,” the nurse says,
Returning you from the PEG scout film.
I cringe at these outdoor words,
But the allusion escapes you.
Your eyes are far and away,
Not in shared memories of pup tents
and campfires, just somewhere else,
Somewhere I cannot follow. . .
The branches are too thick and tangled.
You are leaving your child
Alone in the darkening woods.
I am cold and wet and scared—
Contending with strange monsters,
Demons like Tau and A-beta.
I ask you to please try again the soup,
But it only runs like rain
Down a fading wrinkled tarp.

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