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Poetry and Medicine
June 28, 2000

refusing Ginkgo

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2000;283(24):3175. doi:10.1001/jama.283.24.3175

when my memory falters
I want nothing to spare ACH
let it tumble into a synaptic cleft
scream in the abyss
plop into the receptor jaws of hungry
cholinesterase, and be eaten alive
no Vitamin E
I want oxidative damage to
run wild, pick off temporal lobe
neurons, take shots at 1992 when
I thought dizzy ringing
was acoustic neuroma
I look forward to forgetting
years of money–children–work–worry
encouraged that I might be able to
erase the day's tapes of bad decisions that
replay nightly on a 0330 ceiling
to be like Nursing Home Sal
in his stained and dried-rice grained pants
who should know my name yet
won't say it most days but when dinner is
under his nose will smile between
shaky-handed forkfuls
just wheel me outside sometimes
in mid June on the
first firefly night, then
late July when the cicada clicks start
early September for the first cool wind
and the winding down crickets
end October when peak gold maple leaves
dance before dropping
in November to December
when the fifteen brown shades earth is
quiet before snow
and again in January
after a blizzard blanket lays
new and unplowed
and one last April time when
melt-water lifts mud and crocus heads
so I can see it hear it smell it
feel it all for the first time

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