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Poetry and Medicine
July 25, 2007

Heart Land

JAMA. 2007;298(4):380. doi:10.1001/jama.298.4.380

for John Coppola, MD

My heart is a camera;
it takes pictures even when I sleep.
It records time.
It records panic and misery and pain and love.
It never lies to me and pounds like a racehorse
when I treat it like an orphan.
My heart loves me, even when I ignore it—
that is what it does.
It helps me caress others,
protects me from myself.
It carries sunlight and fireflies.
It dances with dragonflies.
Our hearts should speak to each other
like deaf people sign,
but how can we ask what we so often deny?
The brain is an assembly line, the heart a carousel.
Everyday I have lunch with my heart;
we feed each other the truth and laugh at our illusions.
We pray together
so that we may not end our days apart.

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