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Poetry and Medicine
September 20, 2016

Autumnal Equinox

Author Affiliations
  • 1Newton, Massachusetts

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

JAMA. 2016;316(11):1217. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.17715

Today, calm and sunny, dry,
the sun slips equal to the coming night.
The birds are gone, not even sparrows here,
just a single mourning dove—
so much uprooted, dug away, and paved.
I watch my wild drought-stressed patch
beyond the equinox—
a blip three-quarters gone,
my body’s winter, and no turning back.
But at these moments of the sun
not yet settled in the west
I write, I read, and draw my breaths
from life within and still around me.
The day and dark descend
while white clouds rise as birds and stars,
and I am blessed.

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