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Poetry and Medicine
March 24/31, 1999

Gris at Forty (1927)

Author Affiliations
 

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;281(12):1068E. doi:10.1001/jama.281.12.1068

In the softening geometry
of heart valves lay the secret
to his late genius. Loss is all
arranged on the earthly plane,
its colors serene in a light
that is always about to fade.
Behind him now are years
crisp from edge to edge.
Behind him are zinc bars
and demitasse to the lip
of a cracked white cup,
dominoes, the precise risk
inherent in collage. Home
for good, each breath
like the stroke of a brush,
each motion measured
against the whole shape
of day. Before him now
are days coming too soon
to an end. Before him
he finds by chance shards
in a trapezoid of bedroom
mirror, finds apples cozy
as lovers in a tub, his pipe
perfectly balanced on its shank,
a book's pages fanning
open of their own weight
on a table tilted into the dark.

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