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Poetry and Medicine
February 5, 2003

The Body of Science

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2003;289(5):524. doi:10.1001/jama.289.5.524

Schooled in body gases, dipped
in phenol how can anyone learn
your language of love?
Showered and stethoscoped
you march into this lab
like the Healer of All Earth
and my heart's lubdub becomes
irregular. Awkward as a teen
with no anatomical training
I seem unable to decipher
your statistics or monitor
my molecules. Like water
at the lip of a cataract, my
nerves contract then slip reckless
over ledges to make some
synapse happen. Objectively
speaking, your Krebs cycle
amazes me: your nitrogens,
your hydrogens, your tireless
ATP. Scientific theory agrees:
there's an ocean inside every
body and your tides lift along
my shore. Each time your
voluntary muscles make contact,
my involuntary ones contract. I
want, in fact, to study more. Your
living tissue merits further tests
yet, even at this stage, I'd guess
your every kiss and vesicle's
anatomically correct.

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