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Poetry and Medicine
October 16, 2002

Nervous

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2002;288(15):1821. doi:10.1001/jama.288.15.1821

At the brush of her fingers, sodium
fluxes in and potassium out
of a nerve exposed
on the back of his hand.
This excites
a charge to careen madly along
an axon afferently
to his dorsal ganglia.
It takes a right
turn and changes lanes
without a blinker
up the tract to the brainstem,
the medulla, the amygdala, the thalamus.
Not stopping or even
slowing to think about
the consequences,
it hangs a left
at the tight junction and curves
down a dark gray sulcus
where no other neuron has traveled
before.
It pauses briefly at the synaptic
cleft of Love
and then jumps wildly
with flailing arms.

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