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Poetry and Medicine
January 26, 2000

Night: A Fragment

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2000;283(4):445. doi:10.1001/jama.283.4.445

He knows his body's in a rage, and yet
how nonchalant
disease, the end here
and not here, his schedule cleared
for years. Outside, the palms are stirred;
mosquitoes drone.
At length he longs to cough,
to have the lying body heard—
his is a mixed relinquishment
to suffering, though: he swallows pills; the pills postpone
the light. But the night itself is lit,
the California moon, the dead
almost irresistible.
Let the living go on living, Rilke said.
There's nothing else to be said.

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