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Poetry and Medicine
March 12, 2008

Quid Pro Quo

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2008;299(10):1112. doi:10.1001/jama.299.10.1112

we both knew death was
waiting in the other room
drumming fingers on the table
biding his time
i think you must have had a deal with him
of course
that would be just like you
always looking for an edge
calling in a chit
a private pact
and now that it's all over
i can speculate. . .
okay death
take me quick
and i won't fight you
i’ll do no more medicine and chemotherapy
i want to die me
before my chance is taken away
and i’m a case number in some dopey phase-two trial
with fake hopes and promises
so that's the deal when the time comes
i won't fight you
and you take me
if you can live with that
i’ll die with it.

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