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Poetry and Medicine
April 4, 2001


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2001;285(13):1680. doi:10.1001/jama.285.13.1680

The surgeon slicing deep into my thigh
complains of traffic on his way to work.
He is running behind. I close my eyes
against the flood of red that seems to soak
his skin. I know the stain is rage and not
my blood but think this might be even worse.
His mask sags when he sighs. The room is hot,
as though infused by his fire, and the nurse
has draped an icy cloth across my face.
I do not know what to do with my hands
that have rested above my heart but now
drape over the table's edge at the sound
of scissors snipping muscle. Fear's loose strands
bind with a gentle tug as he laces
my wound shut and mutters that the lab is sure
to take a week with results, maybe more.

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