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Poetry and Medicine
May 13, 1998


Author Affiliations

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(18):1422AC. doi:10.1001/jama.279.18.1422

When you tell me you are dying
I think of early spring,
when the dogwoods
were shawls of draining snow,
and I saw them pressing,
swaying like the white beards of rabbis
waiting for the Messiah to come.
Then summer passed, stripping off
the spotted leaves,
baring the branches like a second skin.
Then the fall, when the cool air
gathered all its stars in our yard
and the glazed cherry
hung like a child's fist
pounding the hard chest of the sky.

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