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Poetry and Medicine
August 22/29, 2007


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2007;298(8):842. doi:10.1001/jama.298.8.842

I know that otherworldliness of fainting.
I used to go light-headed every Sunday
in the small chapel where dad took us
in lieu of the later mass at church.
After the consecration, my vision
began to narrow––the host raised,
my head dropped to my knees.
There was not enough air.
My mind folded in, senses dwindled
to the rasp of breath and the smell
of wet wool.
Before my mother folds inward from her knees,
I fight gravity's tug by pushing her forward––
just a few more steps to the chair––
but she is already leaving me,
hip and knee closing like books
all the way to the floor.
A few heartbeats later
she opens her eyes, gazes around as if
she's never seen this world before.

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