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Poetry and Medicine
November 6, 2002

Starting Out, Carrying On

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2002;288(17):2087. doi:10.1001/jama.288.17.2087

The freshness, the expanse,
clean linen floating to the
waiting bed.
Who else does possibility belong to
if not the ill, returned
to that place of birthing, white-gowned
awash with fever and philosophy
and a tendency to conversion.
Bathed in sweat such cleansing
seems possible, even divined,
the white rind of moon
casting a line I'll cross
come morning, this time better
this time different.
To be consumed by fever
what does that mean?
I wake, dreaming of water
hot bones of my back leave
their damp-sheeted impression.
Each night I sink into this hollow
by repetition formed.
I'm still here
between fire and delivery, waiting
for release from the slow
radical victory of history.

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