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Poetry and Medicine
December 8, 2010

Sweetness

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2010;304(22):2446. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1688

I notice a woman's shoe,
fluorescent pink, wedged
to its back between rocks.
The Saturday afternoon
of clean-up. Cub Scouts
scour the beach for trash.
Parts of plastic forks,
Styrofoam cups,
a long, ragged wound
of kelp and worn grass.
Restoration—when
the woodcock and martin
arrive to begin breeding,
this time they’ll find
a sweet beach. Scouts,
trailing plastic bags, earn
their badge. Fingers, branches,
stones, a knife—I pry,
twist, dig, sculpt the shoe
from its tomb, until
suddenly the suck gives. Free!
A red shoe! Put this moment
toward sweetness, add it
to the pages of hope.

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