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Poetry and Medicine
October 19, 2011


Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jama-archives.org.

Author Affiliation: Potomac, Maryland.

JAMA. 2011;306(15):1631. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1313

In the background the radio drones
as the summer swelters over dog-riven days.
At night we incubate at the table, sleepless,
naked lights hang limply above us.
A lone fly, lisping overhead,
spins the only shade we know.
The beat of its wings
our only breeze.
We brood over a table with
a half-empty glass of warm water,
an old piece of fruit,
and your thoughts, for I have none.
Random torpid movements have
collided into this stillness.
Sweat slithers down onto the table.
The smell of the day won't leave the room.
Our clothes are cotton sop.
We are not completely naked,
lest our buttocks stick to the plastic
descrying our asexual suffering.
Tomorrow the old man will die out here at this table,
this suffocating heat his ascot of death.
Next day we will sit here and eat even what we spill,
disregarding all sentiment, save for the heat . . . 
this damn heat.