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Poetry and Medicine
December 14, 2005

The Geriatric Lane

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2005;294(22):2816. doi:10.1001/jama.294.22.2816

Stopped in traffic, the DynaFlow
transmission of your life
slips into reverse.
You depress the brake,
already to the floor, pop
the imaginary clutch.
Still, you have the sensation
of moving backward.
You tilt the rearview mirror
to retrograde identities that reassure.
You try to ignore the horns,
epithets—the laughter.
You are successful.
Slowly, the wheels begin to turn.
In neutral, the steering wheel sways.
You realize you are being towed
from the intersection of present
and past. Your future,
growing smaller
as you pick up speed, turns green.

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