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Poetry and Medicine
April 24, 2013

A Podiatry Fairytale

Author Affiliations

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

Author Affiliation: Medical Faculty Associates, Georgetown University, Washington, DC (

JAMA. 2013;309(16):1665. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.131320

This little piggy
went to market, this
little piggy stayed
home, and this little
piggy, well, he's sick,
poor guy, got a case
of the fungus—Big
Bad Trichophyton
blew hyphae under
his nail, turned it to
porridge, ragged like
a witch's tooth or
hunchbacked troll, horrid
as an unkissed toad.
Probably caught it
from someone's slipper.
The crystal ball of
randomized, controlled,
double-blind trials
shows half of such nails
will magically change
from ugly duckling
to sleeping beauty
by the stroke of twelve
weeks of Lamisil
taken orally.
It's no genie in
a bottle, no knight
in shining armor,
just your best chance for
a happy ending.

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