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Poetry and Medicine
May 6, 2009


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2009;301(17):1746. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.531

Marveling at
stainless wires
they used to close
the skin over
an absent breast,
the bone over
an open heart,
how could we know
how could we know
cutting cracks in calloused hands
making sutures sing,
trying and tying
as silk became Vicryl
catgut turned chromic,
that we were the dinosaurs,
that heat would denature
blood vessels and tumors,
sound beyond sound
could cauterize and cut,
fiber optics and
would replace the retractors
we clung to
and the eyes so tired
from reading.

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