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Poetry and Medicine
April 19, 2006


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2006;295(15):1747. doi:10.1001/jama.295.15.1747

Outside, the sky is delicious
in palpable blue and white,
enough sun to hint at sun
and one bird on a wire.
Inside, a small flower of hurt,
lotus that burns the chest.
The body retreats
beneath the gauze of fatigue,
close threads that cling,
a dewed premonition
as soft as a voice heard through water,
heard through a door.
I creep toward breath,
pant to avoid the cough
that bends my body,
spasm that closes my throat.
The rose geranium straggles,
in its China pot,
and a lily left from Easter
browns by the hearth.
My window is a mouth,
a yawn on the world.
Through the glass,
the spring is choking in green.
The garden of illness yields
pink wings of the butterfly rose,
honeysuckle all but hidden,
and wisteria nearly done.
Oh rampant burgeoning,
random surprise.
Even without tending,
one delphinium has survived.

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