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Poetry and Medicine
November 12, 2003

Instructions on Waking From Anesthesia

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2003;290(18):2377. doi:10.1001/jama.290.18.2377

Don't speak first
and never your secret name.
Sound the Tibetan bell of
your heart at first light.
Hold your life's flame safe
in the center of frail hands.
Walk toward dawn that rises
between land and sea;
step serene inside beginnings
released as a tipped boat
lifted silently aright
by tides. Remember that
oblique space between breath
and breath where
all things have their being.
Now if words arise
and choose you,

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