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Poetry and Medicine
January 27, 1999

Soundings: Three for the Stethoscope

JAMA. 1999;281(4):308H. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-4-jpm80324

Let me place
these miniature pears
in my ears, this diaphragm
against your skin.
Listen—the wafting
of a cracked Victrola's voice
in the leaves of your garden.
Wafting? What a word
for a simple
sonic phenomenon.
Leaves? I'd better stick
to the facts.
The noise is turbulence.
Garden? From plastic tubes
around my neck
a bell-shaped tuber grows.
I slide the tuber
to the curve of your breast—
In an age of perfect machines,
how impertinent
to choose imperfect means—
a waft of thuds and turbulence
instead of blips,
the scratch of tissue, this.

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