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Poetry and Medicine
March 5, 2014

High Tide

Author Affiliations
  • 1Evercare Hospice, Waltham, Massachusetts

Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2014;311(9):968. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.283252

In weakness at 2 am I step onto a wave
in my father’s storm-beaten feet: toes missing,
bone shaved from infections that gnawed
through until the only balance the body could find
was within a walker or leaning on a cane.

Hair astray above eyes losing potency,
the family looks aside as if we let them down
by allowing the diabetes to wash through us,
by not turning it away with love of the world
or damming it off with a wall of will power.

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