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Poetry and Medicine
November 10, 1999


Author Affiliations

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;282(18):1700D. doi:10.1001/jama.282.18.1700

My mother has lost her way
through time and memory,
turning circles down a dark
hall where past and present
diverge. Footsteps of the child
I was echo and fade. My brother,
dead one year, calls in a voice
she no longer recognizes. All
around her drift fragments
of song, lost melodies, a final
dazzling trill held beyond belief.
The world outside these walls
has ceased to matter, its petty
demands stacked on her desk
and sealed in their crisp white
silences like obedient children.
That desk sits flush beneath
a window now shut for good
against the sound of the sea.
The blinds are drawn to block
light winking off summer surf.

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