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Poetry and Medicine
June 9, 2015


Author Affiliations
  • 1Newton, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;313(22):2288. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.5722

Inspired by and dedicated to Steven James Mentzer, MD

Will I still think and dream
as I am put to sleep again
and when I wake will I still write
the unknown chapter of my life—
these words that wait now deep within,
indolent, slow growing—
emerging as a drowsy bear
half-sleeping from her den,
or like the chipmunk in my yard
who digs and eats and burrows deep
to store what may remain for winter’s chill.
And will the trees embrace me
as they hold my shadow when I wake
and will I breathe the air they give
to all that lives from deep within their roots—
My branching capillary breaths of leafless twigs
of dendrites, axons, and the galaxies who feed my mind
beyond the DNA and genome
that I am.

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