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Poetry and Medicine
December 16, 2009

Glacial: A Glossary of Terms

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2009;302(23):2522. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1705

Glacier : A river of ice, built up of discreet strata
   composed of unresolved arguments, dreams,
   sexual urges, instantly and eternally available.
Abrasion: The constant grinding, friction,
   wearing away through surface
   and intimate contact.
Chattermarks: Small curved scrapes or
   scars documenting evenings of
   endlessly repeated accusations.
Calving: The irresponsible “tossing off”
   of children into the great salt sea of life.
Cleavage: The tendency of a heart
   to split along parallel lines.
Frost Action: The relentless, mechanical withering
   of the soul, caused by repeated freezing and thawing.
   Byproducts: Self-doubt; Depression.
Glacial Milk: Bitter liquor, laden with silt,
   the opposite of human kindness.
Kettle: Formed by the twisting and turning,
   the machinations preceding decision making.
   What could be more domestic?
Outwash Plain: That fantastical world of happiness, beyond
   the moraines, beyond the morass.

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