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Poetry and Medicine
September 17, 2008

Vigil

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2008;300(11):1279. doi:10.1001/jama.300.11.1279

for M. McClanahan

We get most quiet
when someone
is about to die.
The magic
of leaving the body
mesmerizes us.
Breathing only appears
to stop, but really waves
from the body
cascading flecks
of the last taste,
the last smells,
the last words heard,
waving them out
like pollen in spring
from the new
awakening body
opening to a new
sun, and in this
quiet turning
elation can be felt
if we feel beneath
the sadness.

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