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Poetry and Medicine
September 8, 2015


Author Affiliations
  • 1Newton, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;314(10):1075. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.6264

Bones are not a metaphor
nor the lungs they shelter
in their curves and arcs
around the laboring heart
or cradling the mind.
The massive cochlea of a fossil whale
and its giant vertebra
that stands in my living room
holding a shell—
none are metaphors
nor the ancient kauri wood
carved as a kiwi
flightless bird at risk
as are we all—
none are metaphors.
They are infinitesimal shards
of some of what is life,
momentary links in time.

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