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Poetry and Medicine
July 18, 2007

Low Back Pain

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2007;298(3):264. doi:10.1001/jama.298.3.264

Yes, Disco-genic & Muscle-strain,
what you hear is true:
I am calling you, Dear Friends.
Yes, yes, I know: for decades,
I’ve griped of your nagging ways,
your sometimes crippling visits.
Yes, I’ll admit to being part of
the problem: weed wacking,
spading gardens, splitting wood.
I know, I know,
but now I need your friendship.
Can't we accept the other's faults?
Like this morning: what a relief
—after a second of dread,
knowing this crick from
pruning a Clematis vine,
is only you, Muscle strain,
not renegade prostate cells
        invading my spine.

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