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Poetry and Medicine
November 21, 2007

This Afterlife

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2007;298(19):2234. doi:10.1001/jama.298.19.2234

Children play dead so well
because the past calls them.
Their tiny hands burrow
lightly into the warm sand
at the shore of words.
Remember how you hid
under blankets, how you closed
the eyes of the world?
How you crouched in the closet
thick with wet wool
and camphor at the edge
of the murmuring room?
Ghosts spy on parents
from every corner of the house,
on the bodies they are sent
to fill as they wait
for waves of light
to push them through the door.

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