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Poetry and Medicine
February 3, 2015

Hearing the News While Walking on the Beach

Author Affiliations
  • 1Neurology Consultants, Salem, Oregon
JAMA. 2015;313(5):527. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.13383

The waning moon,
a victory of brown pelicans
skimming sheet metal waves,
the scent of salt and cedar on an August evening—
all indifferent to their fate as they are to us.
Molecules move from feather to leaf,
leaf to bone, bone to beach. Relentless
as the letters we imagined but did not write.
This sand absorbs sorrow
the way a candle devours darkness.
Without reserve, mindless
as our belief in each other—
immortal as this tidepool.

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