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Poetry and Medicine
April 19, 2016

b. 1919

Author Affiliations
  • 1Precision Orthopedics, Tullahoma, Tennessee
JAMA. 2016;315(15):1663. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.19390

for Alice Anne

Her heart and lungs have won a Pyrrhic victory.
Standing knee-deep among the dead and dying
she regards with dismay
how abjectly few her happy few, her band of brothers
have become.

First fell her daughter—
and can a woman in old age be nursed
by sons?
Then life’s companions one by one
the mounting casualties of merciless time
that spared her.
And what of sight…hearing…memory…
what of life force?

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