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Poetry and Medicine
January 6,1999

Apologies of a Medical Manuscript

Author Affiliations

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;281(1):86. doi:10.1001/jama.281.1.86

this study shows that this disease will never love you,
this study shows that this disease just eloped with your daughter,
this study is like your father,
authoritative and vaguely threatening,
this study is like your mother,
modest and accepting you unconditionally,
this study is like your lover,
disrobed, guileless, and wholly revealed,
this study wants brothers and sisters and cousins,
it calls for more funding,
this study says no, you're the one who is half-baked,
ill-conceived, and poorly executed,
this study says wait, I didn't mean it, come back here, let's talk,
this study wants to be loved and accepted for what it is,
not what you want it to be,
this study wants to be appreciated for all the things it does right,
not criticized for the one thing it screwed up,
this study dares you to take a swing,
this study wants to go to medical meetings,
be the talk of Imperial Ballroom II, and blush at the compliments,
this study wants to be copied endlessly, overphotographed like a model,
this study wants to be discovered as the poem
it believes itself to be in its heart,
this study wants to lie on your sofa,
this study wants to be in your back pocket when you go fishing,
or arm wrestle, or argue over beers,
this study wants to be your Rorschach test,
telling you all about your own sweet self,
this study says trust me, I'm written by doctors.

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