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Poetry and Medicine
October 20, 2004


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2004;292(15):1799. doi:10.1001/jama.292.15.1799

On the night of the Leonid meteor shower, you already
a sweet burning in your mother’s womb, your parents and I
walked after midnight to a rise in the town cemetery
where we stood shivering among a Milky Way of gravestones,
eyes pitched skyward, and watched stars like seeds of flame
plunge soundless to the horizon—so many that I began to feel
sheepish from shouting Look! over and over.
Which is what I keep saying about your first “picture,”
your head and face, swirls of light against dark, like a distant
galaxy coming suddenly into focus—reminding me that
my awe that November night was as much for the accretion
of your bones from dust the same as the stars,
their light the light of your face streaming towards us.
Little star, you who were always there, finally we see you.