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Poetry and Medicine
October 7, 1998


Author Affiliations

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;280(13):1132C. doi:10.1001/jama.280.13.1132

Like the front of a deep, narrow theater
not yet julienned into a five-plex
say the screen of Vineland's old Landis,
my retinas are thin, tattered, dim.
In my eyeballs, grape-long and droopy
(think of National Geographic tits),
the crystal aspic behind each lens
is silting up with floaters.
The old ones are small, straw-brown
and gracile, faded ghosts of blood,
attenuated cheesecloth lace
to strain the whey-blue light of day.
And now the others, black as tar-pits,
invade the sooty caves of sight,
Neanderthals squatting round,
thick-boned and robust.
They cometize my sky. I name
them: Triangle Star Aldebaran,
Barbed Wire Spool Unraveled,
One Thousand Black Paper Swans.