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Poetry and Medicine
September 24, 2014

Vladimir and Anita

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics, State University of New York at Stony Brook
JAMA. 2014;312(12):1260. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.5085

Anita, whose course of radiation
hasn’t sprung the tiniest leak
in her character, tells me the blues
that crawl each morning into her bed
are masculine. The icicle jitters
that slip under her skin each evening
are feminine. She gets rid of the men
by belting What a Friend We Have
in Jesus until the nurses come
and shush her. She relies on the Spirit
to hustle those petulant women
out of the room. Anita’s calm.

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