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Poetry and Medicine
July 27, 2005

This Heart

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2005;294(4):405. doi:10.1001/jama.294.4.405

Strangely, suddenly, beating like surf
that splashes today over bulwark and dock,
shock troops of hurricanes farther south
but on course to crash here.
My heart always was docile, unremarked
as it pumped full and ebbed on schedule,
pulse normal, blood salty as sea,
relied on like seasons and tides.
And all the recurrent seasons of love
which jumpstart body and brain—
What’s happening now? I don’t know.
Such pounding, invisible crimson surf
all day and all night, a generator gone wild
inside my chest and head, as if
this casket of flesh and bones
would burst to shower the world red.

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