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Poetry and Medicine
June 25, 2008

The New Normal

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2008;299(24):2833. doi:10.1001/jama.299.24.2833

To grow a Texas cactus from the start,
You scatter tiny seeds on dirt and sand
(Your nail works well to nudge stuck ones apart).
Then sprinkle water with a steady hand.
Each day, my son asks, “Will it get real tall?”
He crowds his brother as they check for growth—
The way I’ve searched my hairless head since fall.
I pray young shoots will sprout up soon for both.
It happens all at once—soft spikes appear;
I rub my scalp while calling to the boys.
They peer in close to analyze each spear.
My bigger joy is lost to hooting noise.
The victory is all my own: Mom's hair?
The news is that we grew a Prickly Pear.

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