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Poetry and Medicine
October 21, 2009


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2009;302(15):1628. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1369

Nature overcompensates:
Additional vertebrae,
Surplus molars, extra digits,
One more finger or toe
Just for good measure, and here,
Here is another five-chambered heart.
As if there is never enough,
Like the patients of good will
Who cannot bring enough red wine,
Garlic necklaces, daily calendars
With inspirational quotations
Given from gratitude,
Or admiration, or from the one
Last and only hope
They bring other things,
They bring themselves.
It is the excess of the well intentioned,
The camping outfitter who overfits,
The granger who overfeeds
For a winter that will never come.
The effusions of a heart pumping wildly
Behind the heart, with more imagination
Than any body can bear.

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