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Poetry and Medicine
February 8, 2006

Ash Wednesday

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2006;295(6):598. doi:10.1001/jama.295.6.598

In the villages of central Mexico the poor
make belts of braided soft-drink tabs;
zucchini soup contains the stems
and flowers as well as fruit.
In Mexico nothing is wasted, so
the darkest of their recipes for mole
calls for stale tortillas and the seeds
of ancho chilis burned to ash
and folded in. As if to guarantee
the taste of dust and ashes always
in one's mouth. As if one needed
in Mexico, yet another reminder
of the presence of los muertos.

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