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Poetry and Medicine
March 10, 2004

Tardive Dyskinesia

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2004;291(10):1172. doi:10.1001/jama.291.10.1172

On the twigs of her wrists, my mother's hands
bobolink, titmouse, linnet, finch
Flutter in her lap, peck her blouse's buttons
wagtail, waxwing, solitaire, brambling
Curl into nests, shivering fists
rose finch, siskin, tanager
Pale and ringless, nails bitten to the quick
phoebe, bulbul
They reach for a cigarette, whisk the air with matches
vireo, towhee, longspur
Doodling fingers, tapping thumbs flicker in feathers of smoke
grackle, chat, blue bunting
My mother's wings rise in her silent room, a dance of ashes and light
diamond starling, vesper sparrow, alabaster seraphim
I touch them

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