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Poetry and Medicine
July 18, 2001

A Swarm of Shadow

JAMA. 2001;286(3):276. doi:10.1001/jama.286.3.276

Illness came, though we could not
see it that spring, through the trees
with their green palms opened.
Could not hear the letters of your name,
chewed on and spit out as far thunder;
nor imagine the familiar rumble would
come back to haunt us as particular
and forewarning. It did not seem that
you could be so singled out from all of us,
row on row of other choices. That spring
we could not see beyond the promise of
the yearly change; the year unmasked
as sorrow. A swarm of shadow moving
across the moist field towards us,
its steady eye of purpose on you.

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