Citations 0
Poetry and Medicine
August 27, 2003

Losing Solomon

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2003;290(8):997. doi:10.1001/jama.290.8.997

We estimate a man by how much he remembers.—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Things seem to take on a sudden shimmer
before vanishing: the polished black loafers
he wore yesterday, the reason for climbing
the stairs, even the names of his own children
are swallowed like spent stars streaking the dark
vault of memory. Today the toaster gives up
its silver purpose in his hands, becomes a radio,
an old Philco blaring a ball game from the 40s
with Jackie Robinson squaring up to the plate.
For now, it's simple, he thinks he is young again,
maybe nineteen, alone in a kitchen. He is staring
through his own reflection in the luster, and hoping
against hope that Robinson will clear the bases
with a ball knocked so far over the stadium wall
it becomes a pigeon winging up into the brilliance.
And perhaps, as one last merciful act of alchemy,
as Jackie sails around third, he will transform
everything, even the strange and forgotten face
glaring back from the chrome, into something familiar,
something Solomon could take as his own.

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview