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Poetry and Medicine
February 19, 2003

Wherever Puff Goes

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2003;289(7):811. doi:10.1001/jama.289.7.811

I am bones and veins, a slab of meat
shrink wrapped. Even rawhide withers,
plump bacon dries, and home-smoked
venison, taped tight, evaporates.
So skin wrinkles, sags under jowls
and eyes, throats pucker like meat
in the freezer. Old age should bulge
with wisdom firm as bones,
but I am tallow soft as English sausage,
the gristle butchers slice
before plopping a pound of sirloin
on the scales. I'll never be granite,
but sand, the sift on plastic
after coffee beans are ground,
grit in an hour glass, the sticky stuff
on a spoon. Lord of more than a pound
of brain and a voice box, I'm breath
under pressure, a coffee can
pierced by a blade that spins
until the lid pops loose.
Wherever puff goes, leaving dregs
when the last cup's gone, I'll follow,
wherever You are. I don't know where
or when, but know I'll go there soon.

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