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Poetry and Medicine
June 20, 2001


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2001;285(23):2951. doi:10.1001/jama.285.23.2951

In the early light, the shadows where
their bodies had slept turned into morning
and left only vague impressions in the sheets.
Still, I could almost see them clearer then.
As my palms slid along the long arc
where a back had lain, or a man's round,
muscular buttock, or the gentle sweep
of a young girl's neck, I'd feel their hearts
rising and falling on the currents of the night.
I'd say a few words under my breath then,
and strip the bedding down to the bare mattress,
surrendering my hands to the work that needed done,
unfolding the new sheets like white wings,
running my open fingers along the edges of my life.

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