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Poetry and Medicine
March 12, 2003


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2003;289(10):1214. doi:10.1001/jama.289.10.1214

The first time I ever saw a brain
all pink and throbbing in its ivory safe,
bulged through a hole the neurosurgeon made
to let the pressure out and so to save
my aunt who hit her head against a wall
I was transfixed by curiosity;
that holy ordering of ridge and rut
fed by more tributaries than the sea,
repository for her every thought.
Hoping to find a grail of the mind,
I've searched signatures that brain waves draw
from nerve cells shaped like tadpoles in a scope,
watched patients seized by toxins, tics and strokes.
The nature of a thought remains unknown;
what leap occurs between the ear and tongue,
elusive as chimera or a bowl
of sky that fills me to the brim, the brain
must be the mortal bridegroom of the soul.

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