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Poetry and Medicine
February 11, 2009

After the Stroke

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2009;301(6):579. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.983

One more time together
walking, late morning, heat rising,
high tide lingering in watery hollows
on the still soft, wet sand,
her stick sinks deep
slowing our progress up the beach,
where the fishermen, packing up,
throw one last fillet to the lazy
pelican growling for breakfast,
his second, they say and smile.
One more time together
searching for equilibrium
seated on a fallen branch
sodden but solid support
for her tipsy body
and ever-fluttering heart,
we observe secrets scrawled
on driftwood, a metropolis of crazy
crabs commuting in orderly confusion,
and mad ants spilling from tiny holes.
One more time together
seeking perfection
in nature, we gaze across
the wide gray channel;
the Glasshouse Mountains lie
languid behind a mist of gauze,
a woman in recline,
revealing one round hip,
a perfect peak of breast
and two foreshortened feet.
One more time together
laughing at nature's imperfection
we stand cautiously and relish
our slow and measured retreat
along the beach;
drifting sideways with regret
she takes my arm
to guide her up the endless
wooden steps back
to the safety of the car.

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