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Poetry and Medicine
January 5, 2016

Jesse’s Song

Author Affiliations
  • 1Silver Spring, Maryland

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2016;315(1):91. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.12723

The quiet boy, sixteen, who toddled young but never crawled
once subluxed his knee pitching a ball, the patella slicing foul,
fractured a finger in the car door, a toe against a stove, walked
a nail through his foot, tore two ligaments stepping off a curb,

was borne twice in agony from a soccer field, once an ice rink,
once the school hall, sweated crutches three straight summers
and saw eyes drilled through a pumpkin knee, now breaks the news
he’s cast in the school musical to sing tenor, tap dance and tango,
hurl girls high, catch them and tumble across the stage, on purpose.

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