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Poetry and Medicine
August 16, 2000

Involutional Melancholia

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2000;284(7):807. doi:10.1001/jama.284.7.807

That she'd rolled out of nothingness seemed queer,
but there was much to occupy her days,
and fiat lux exacted math and faith
magnitudes beyond imagining
even for a poet, which she was,
if only of a minor minor sort.
Home Ec and English Lit prepared her well.
She decked her hearth and pages in grand style—
bloom-heaped wicker's always à la mode—
and made the midnight sky a picture book
to ease her children into harmless dreams
of Little Bear, the Hunter and the Swan.
And when she lay her own self down to sleep
there was a snoring husband and slate-roof
to blot heaven's reproach. Yes, overall,
she earned the highest epithets for each
accomplice in her luminous triune
bright mind, radiant body, and warm soul.
She gave out all she could of heat and light,
rolled inward toward her cooling iron core,
and found the place her nature preordained
as just another burnt-out basket case
in the keyless vast asylum of her kind:
white dwarves, black holes and interstellar dust.

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