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Poetry and Medicine
December 3, 2003

Vanishing Act

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2003;290(21):2779. doi:10.1001/jama.290.21.2779

I cannot find my car or the keys to it
so I no longer travel as I once did
to tennis matches
to mountain outcroppings
that told me stories
of having lived beneath seas
or to the ports where we
boarded ships that
carried us around the globe.
I cannot find my study or the view from its window
where I played with equations
to tempt my students to question.
Lost too is the room where I rested
my cheek in the easy curve
of his shoulder
and the yard where daughters
cartwheeled across grass.
I stored every odd sized parcel
of knowing into memory
a reserve given to evaporation over time.
Tonight I sip open-fire coffee
listen to wind spin off the canyon floor
watch stars glance up at me from
a river running the raven night.
Light slides current fast past my campsite.

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