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Poetry and Medicine
February 9, 2011


Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to

JAMA. 2011;305(6):540. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1998

The ground is littered
With curled and yellowed leaves
Raked into silent, autumnal piles
As you join me, landing in the fold
Of my jacket's elbow crease.
In this cold air, the day's last light,
You have no need for furtherance,
Six legs clinging to me
With each methodical pull of leaves,
30,000 lenses wearily peering
From ancient eyes
That have seen the aerial world,
For weeks perhaps,
And they choose to rest with me?
From your teneral self, freshly emerging
Through a shedding skin,
To this diaphanous, increasingly
Motionless moment,
You lived shimmering in the sun,
Riding the wind,
Carpe diem. . . . 
It seems only right
To give you to the leaves,
Your clasper rhythmically heaving
A few final times,
A lover's orgasmic farewell—
Yours a life exhausted,
Without regret,
In its fullness, my soul's envy,
My dragonfly dream,
As I lay you in a bed of gold.

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