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Poetry and Medicine
November 19, 2008

Orchid Food

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2008;300(19):2222. doi:10.1001/jama.300.19.2222

Sure, daisies may be the friendliest flower
but I don't want to push them up forever.
Order or atoms? philosophers ponder
all to conclude that it just doesn't matter.
As for my atoms, I think I would rather
become orchid food—not the pink packaged powder
that sits on my sill crying out just add water
but jungle germ, wedged in the crotch of a monster
mahogany, I am an epiphyte's dinner.
Flat, thick leaves sprout from me, sacks of green leather,
pink moons, pastel moths hang from rope ladders
by dozens and hundreds for no one to gather.
Although gone for good, I persist something greater:
I am become Phalaenopsis, filigreer
of worlds.

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