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Poetry and Medicine
July 5, 2006


Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to

JAMA. 2006;296(1):22. doi:10.1001/jama.296.1.22

You clear your throat some dozen times a minute,
a low staccato row of muted coughs,
perhaps the fragments of a broken laugh,
a laughter with no hint of mirth in it.
The exaggerated blinking, blinking,
as if in disbelief of your own eyes;
the double, treble, quadruple takes
always and never reassuring.
The twitching, subtle twitching of your head
as though you were in answer to someone
whose questions to you never would be done.
Some inquiries are better left unsaid.
I recognize in you another boy,
his anger, frustration, anxiety,
depression's brutal heredity,
a lonely boy from another day.

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