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Poetry and Medicine
October 4, 2006


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2006;296(13):1566. doi:10.1001/jama.296.13.1566

You say a priest sent you one hundred twenty angels
to defeat the four spirits that had been tormenting
you for so many years.
But then, you had to suffer not just four, but rather
one hundred twenty and four voices that filled
your head from dawn till dusk, and throughout
the night, with little comfort from sleep.
You then convinced the angels to depart,
allowing forty-six additional spirits to join the
first four. Now, fifty spirits wage an assault against
your soul: their vibrations pressing down on your
diaphragm, making it difficult for you to breathe.
The math is correct, though the computer flawed;
your medications, it seems, need adjusting.

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