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Poetry and Medicine
September 27, 2006


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2006;296(12):1443. doi:10.1001/jama.296.12.1443

for my stepfather

I half believed you were God,
maybe because your IQ was somewhere
way above the tree line.
Or because of your white brows,
your eyes that could see the heart
in a stone. Or because of how
you walked in time with Time,
never in a hurry, or passed your hand
over the land and there grew
trees from China and Lebanon.
Your words, on occasion, had the mischief
of heaven in them. Maybe I wanted
the Ever-After here, in your garden,
with a wish-I-may periwinkle
and all the pastures flicking green.
Did my fantasy go down
with the camellia I threw on your coffin?
Now nothing of you is left but light.

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