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Poetry and Medicine
December 23 2009


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2009;302(24):2633. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1716

Before morning, I do what I can do.
In the stillness when the light is nebulous,
I follow, as though tracking caribou
over mud and leaves—I've been let out to
the trees, to the soft, tall wilderness
before morning. I do what I can do,
ecstatic in my escape: I continue
by a river, I come to a clearing, and in faithfulness
I follow, as though tracking caribou
through the almost dark, where the hue
soothes me like water, like a caress
before morning. I do what I can do
to live my life on earth: I walk through, I walk through.
But I've found I have no will for this unless
I follow. As though tracking caribou
just to stand in their presence, I renew
my will to progress in this time outside wakefulness.
Before morning I do what I can do:
I follow as though tracking caribou.

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