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Poetry and Medicine
November 1, 2000

On the Way to Surgery

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2000;284(17):2158. doi:10.1001/jama.284.17.2158

When a needle plunges into his hip
he rises through clouds towards Pluto,
his hands at the wheel of a space ship.
His crew, robed in white, wear purple hats.
A porpoise waves from a falling star.
Van Gogh floats near Hester,
his paintings trailing behind.
The captain catches The Starry Night,
then hails a waiter, orders caviar,
plays checkers with Colin Powell,
explains to Churchill that we've won the war,
argues with Einstein, says when he
closes his eyes, light doesn't exist.
He plays golf in the cockpit,
beats Tiger Woods by one stroke,
sings a lullaby to his wife,
and dances the tango with Madeline Albright.

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