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Poetry and Medicine
June 16, 1999

To Market To Market

Author Affiliations

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;281(23):2170X. doi:10.1001/jama.281.23.2170

Sex sells, and we're suckers, sure, but here
subliminal Death's harder sell unreels
its soft-hocus, pocus-grouped appeals
and hits its easy marks, us, in our fear-
struck, fat-clogged hearts and in our aching beer-
guts as they borborygmy our last meals
southward. Parched, we guzzle down the spiel,
the images, the promises, as tears
slip down our cheeks. How fingers ache to sign
up for crispy-coated doctors, cures
like sugar, wells of wellness, udders filled
with human kindness! But the dotted line
is bottom, too, oh patients, ten per hour:
up-coded, capitated, balance-billed.

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