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Poetry and Medicine
January 6, 2015

The Test

Author Affiliations
  • 1Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania

Copyright American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2015;313(1):96. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10757

It is and isn’t with us, the boy, life
inside the womb—outside, it’s cold now
despite the days never ending.
With the windows closed, the bird song
can only be thought. Ten fingers,
ten toes, a large forehead. We
have large foreheads, like anvils,
so we press our heads together
and grind our thoughts to a pulp.
Tomorrow, there will be a test,
and it’s like the dream where
you haven’t studied, yet there you are
in the womb, the teacher smiling
strangely, or not at all, and
you—wondering how to get out.

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