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Poetry and Medicine
November 3, 2015


Author Affiliations
  • 1Newton, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;314(17):1877. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.4353

Once upon a time there was an old woman who found a small hole

in her blanket and she tried and tried to cut it out until

the blanket was all gone (from a children’s folktale)

There are holes in me that cannot be filled—
parts forever taken from my stitched and stapled flesh,
x-rayed, scanned, and shadowed on a screen,
and some have cured.
And there are those that are invisible,
the places of the lost and broken times
we all endure. The eye blinks
and the scissors snip
until there is no more.

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