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Poetry and Medicine
January 18, 2006


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2006;295(3):254. doi:10.1001/jama.295.3.254

In a clinic constructed
of ugliness, I listen
to the awkwardness between
your being intense about
the bad rap you didn’t
deserve but God gave,
which proves he doesn’t
exist or care, and the
insulin that makes you sick.
Behind your pierced face
it's easy to make out
the embankment, not far
from the railroad trestle—
a dozen months or more
after girls from your class
guzzled Xanax and wine
in the weeds and then dived
in front of the speeding
Stony Brook train, a headline
I’ve almost forgotten,
except when you come here
and pin me to the chair
with your ferocious
ornaments and stare, chained
and snarling. Demon, pit bull,
cur, bastard dog, get out
of her! Get out of that girl!

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