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Poetry and Medicine
December 15, 2015

Poem for David

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics, State University of New York, Stonybrook

Copyright 2015 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2015;314(23):2571. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8431

The day you died your sheepish letter came
begging me to write Dilaudid for the pain—
the migraines had flared when you flew home
to help your dad. After the second bleed,
your mother was as good as dead, your dad
a wreck. You begged me to forgive your sick
display last year, your frightening my kids,
your bringing meth into our home. I’m clean,
you wrote, I’ve been in the Vets for months.

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