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Poetry and Medicine
January 19, 2000


Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2000;283(3):308. doi:10.1001/jama.283.3.308

A slowing in the nerves.
Spurred by the bony moon
and one star, an eternal nun
whose face she remembers,
she stares up at a planet
covered in mist.
The dogwood's grown so tall
she can no longer touch the flowers
that float there. At the crown
of the magnolia a few blossoms
remind her of objects
the crows could pick up and carry
if they weren't sleeping in ink.
She knows how want peels back.
Under want is numbness,
and beneath that the pity
that traps her with its color,
bright and artificial.
Huge petals float below the ceiling
of sky, its rim of cities.
Along her spine a trunk
of wood lies superimposed,
thickening with the years.
A little less dopamine left now
to cushion the urge for sex or sleep.
She wants to believe in the clear border
that might still exist
between moon and bone,
planet and star, star and flower.

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