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Poetry and Medicine
September 12, 2001

Trace Pain

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2001;286(10):1147. doi:10.1001/jama.286.10.1147

White cigarette, signified, lit,
lips hissing the filter tip,
finger curled about the plant
and paper rolled, burning, dropping
into the black words blocked
in paragraphs locked in columns
loosened, flaring, lighting down on
two-thirds polyester pant-
leg, and fusing along neurons, past
groinal glands, to pluck the spinal
cord up the neck to an unlanguaged
glottal utter—no time to stop
at the tongue or lip—out a shoulder,
wrist flicking the fingers across thigh
cloth: one-third cotton fiber.

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