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Poetry and Medicine
December 17, 2003

Outpatient Poem #2

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2003;290(23):3041. doi:10.1001/jama.290.23.3041

Taped to the door,
a memo in angry,
stunted letters: expired.
I never hear anyone go.
We will get out of here, veterans,
survivors of radiation plates
and needle pokes that wake us
from gray, watery dreams.
The marrow will take hold,
the blood will follow.
We will wheel our compromised
bodies through the door,
jump in our burbling
cars at the red curb,
hurtle down county roads,
sun bright as a wedding ring,
lightening the stubble of
what was and what will be again
our hair—until, at our winded end,
we are reclaimed by joyous
sons and husbands, streamers,
casseroles of we missed you
and go easy, dirty laundry,
fallow flower beds, neglected
vines, bookmarks of our lives.

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