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Poetry and Medicine
March 9, 2005

Articulations of God

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to

JAMA. 2005;293(10):1171. doi:10.1001/jama.293.10.1171

for L.N.S.

We disagree about
Design. You point, with attitude,
to the knee’s ginglymus articulation.
I admit an engineer might not burden
a hinge’s lateral and cruciate bands
with the body’s weight. I rebut with a hip, elegant
enarthrosis—ball and socket, precisely angled neck—
capable of multidirectional motion, it’s reliable
and easy to replace. You flex
your elbow. I get the point, and counter with the amphi-
arthrotic sacro-iliac joint. A brilliant use
of cartilage (you’ll agree) with partial synovial
memory. I take a stand that Hell conceived
the arched tarsals of the feet. You swear
the error and trial of Chance made
the carpals and metacarpals of the wrists
and hands. And we have seen death’s fingers pluck
the easy swing from limbs, cut the plumb from reason’s line,
release desire’s grapnel—events
beyond articulation’s bearing. But it’s then
that I have sometimes heard a note
a note through pain’s keen argument
and think whatever answers then is grace,
whether Chance or the net of God’s phalanges.

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