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Poetry and Medicine
February 22/29, 2012

Look at Her

Author Affiliations

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

Author Affiliation: Department of Surgery Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland (cvelopu1@jhmi.edu).

JAMA. 2012;307(8):757. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.2025

Who does she think she is?
Quick, decisive, surgical steps,
Moving her swiftly down the hall, beating a steady pace on the linoleum,
Daring anyone to step out in her way,
Challenging anyone to slow her down.
Long, starched white coat,
Eyes staring straight ahead,
The corners of her mouth barely turning up in acknowledgment
Of passers-by wishing her a good evening;
Too good? Too busy? Too cold?
She marches down the corridor head-on
As a man strolls toward her with his kids in a buggy.
Is she daring him to make her step aside? Taunting him to change his course?
And just as it appears she must call the bluff,
The little girl in front cheerfully yells, “Mama!”
The corners of her mouth turn all the way up
And light up her eyes as the little boy in back joins in, “Mama!”
She jogs the last few steps,
Bends down, and kisses them all over.
Look at Her.