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Much of the poetry in One Word, by physician Marc Straus, is on illness. His poem "Autumn" first appeared in JAMA. The title poem is reprinted with permission of Triquarterly Books/Northwestern University Press (copyright 1994 by Marc J. Straus):
A man at the bus stop stooped
to retrieve a dime rolling toward
the drain. Looking at me, he said,
"No ordinary dime, mister." "Really?" I said,
thinking how life is sometimes reduced
to a single word, a reflex, a courtesy.
Like the time I interviewed this young man
for a job in my lab, my mind wandering,
not attached to the conversation,
at best noticing his outdated tie.
Perhaps in response to some statement,
I said, "Why?" Then sensing the opportunity
he answered more eloquently and that
everything. Like the time a woman walked
into my medical office for one thing
and I put my fingers in
One Word. JAMA. 1995;273(13):1068. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520370110051