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Poetry and Medicine
November 23/30, 2005

un poco mosso

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2005;294(20):2549. doi:10.1001/jama.294.20.2549

I remember that evening when
over a plate of reheated salmon,
you lamented the neglected dignity
of your beloved cello.
How the adagio in the Beethoven Emperor
wasn’t just a radiant keyboard,
but a caress between that sparkle
and a faintly perceptible tenderness
punctuating itself within the arpeggios.
Just listen, you said, that’s not simply
a dominant and a fifth
trotting to the weary grasp of theory,
but a muted voice, stretched above its register,
softly pleading to be heard.
I remember that evening still,
now swallowed by the harsher sounds
of sirens, pagers, and overhead alarms—
the sigh of ventilators gasping over heart monitors.
I sit quietly beside your bed and listen
to the steady rhythm of your breathing.

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