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Poetry and Medicine
April 21, 2010


Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to

JAMA. 2010;303(15):1457. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.305

I wonder if one day my mind will stop
the way my laptop stops. The screen
blacks. I work blind to shut down.
Restart. Recover episodes of almost
done poems. Font for no known
reason distorts into Dali-esque messes.
My mother showed me this would happen.
She lost her glasses. Signed her check
as Merry Christmas. Misplaced addresses. Forgot
Dad's death. Half forgot our names.
Each night my brother came to read Dickens
at her bedside. “The man is here,” she’d say.
She never forgot to brighten when she saw us.
So, my dear ones: If I forget your name
or can't see you when I’ve lost
my glasses, recall I’m yours.
Restart me with your smiles.
And when my screen goes blank
that last time, go on without me,
but remember you're supposed to
back up files. Your heart holds the password
and for you it's my last word. So smile,
remember this poem, and I’ll smile back
from somewhere.

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