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Poetry in Pediatrics
November 2015

Teen in the Bathroom

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medical Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(11):1002. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.1167

She looks on herself cleanly now. At night,
She hopes to catch her real face and to know
If it will be worthwhile, the time and trouble.
At first, her skin’s smoothness and color took
Her eyes and thoughts alike, but now she’s scared
By the spirit behind the blink and shift, flitting:
Who are you? What are you going to do?
Like stones or shells she finds on beaches downtown
That never are as pretty as they were
Beneath the lake’s cool roll and overcast,
She looks on herself in the drying light
And thinks of how she loses all she means
In translations—so weak and approximate—
To speech, with friends even, and every day.

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