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Poetry and Medicine
December 20, 2000

Cigarettes

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2000;284(23):2976. doi:10.1001/jama.284.23.2976

Beyond the doubt of shadows lingering,
the pine trees stretched into authorities
of mountains, molehills, mollusks,
under the veil of a starry night,
ten-year-olds in white T-shirts, blue jeans,
grip Lucky Strikes,
between dirt-streaked fingers.
Cheeks: soft, ripe.
Eyes: shiny, mean.
Smoke weaves a tapestry with pine-needles.
Beyond the doubt of shadows winding
into complexities
of deliverance, destruction, decay,
fifty-year-old men in thin cotton gowns
grip Lucky Strikes
between yellow-stained fingers.
Cheeks: rough, sallow.
Eyes: dull, mean.
Smoke circles the intravenous
and dissipates in fluorescent lights.

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