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Poetry and Medicine
July 6, 2005

Local News

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2005;294(1):16. doi:10.1001/jama.294.1.16

Enter the E.R. after the choppers leave;
you’ll see, without requiring to be told,
in forty-two beds that writhe or fight to breathe,
the new Iraq that’s winnowing out the old.
The girls with legs blown off were brought from Kut;
the man from Nasirayah’s lost his sight—
I only know because I dressed their wounds;
they’re like familiar lamps against a night.
With each charged day, each unrelenting sun,
a land of ruin dawns irreparably.
My friend, what have we made, what have we done?
This never was the world we wanted to see.

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