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Poetry and Medicine
April 18, 2001

Rapture of the Deep

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2001;285(15):1934. doi:10.1001/jama.285.15.1934

The scuba-diver weaving
in and out of coral reefs
sinks several atmospheres
deep before the fish begin
to smile. He cannot blame
them. Such vivid color
everywhere! Has he turned
cerise tinged with plum himself?
Finally sky is only memory
and time has nothing to do
with light or love. The speed
of breath is equal to the moon's
geometric benevolence. Drunk
with sudden joy, he removes
his mouthpiece to offer air
for free to passing fish and thinks
it would be sweet now to dance
as a dolphin dances through
the endless salsa music of the sea.
All he can do is smile. His fins
let loose rainbows so he must
be dancing after all and night
waits where the seabed shimmers.

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