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Poetry and Medicine
April 27, 2005

Departure

Author Affiliations
 

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to charlene_breedlove@jama-archives.org.

JAMA. 2005;293(16):1956. doi:10.1001/jama.293.16.1956

Monito Mori

Good-bye to thunderheads, to gentian skies.
Fare you well, you restless sea’s foaming mouth,
As you roil sand and tumble horseshoe crab
And prickly urchin. You seabirds, farewell
To your shrieking cries, your daredevil dives,
Your near-misses that end with motionless
Perches on a jutting rock. Sleep long, rose,
Cyclamen, clematis, gardenia,
For I shall have no further need of you,
Of your falling petals, your scents that made
My senses reel. Depart, the wines and viands
Of my eager youth. You are dismissed, you
Anchors of the truths of molecules, that
Buoyed me long, and up to yesterday.
Cast you off, the detritus of living
Too soon, too long, too audaciously.
I can forego all; I can renounce such
Joie de vivre in any language you name.
Even Hungarian. Even Swahili.
This boat will jettison excess cargo
And vacate its rented slip quite soon now.
So scramble off, desert, defect, depart,
In disordered exodus, earth creatures
I have loved and nurtured. Quit, leave, resign
Your favored niche, perch, habitat, domain;
This vessel is headed for the breakers
Where the Maenads will preside, with gleeful shrieks,
Over its dismemberment absolute.

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