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Poetry and Medicine
February 6, 2013

Artists Always Sign Their Work

Author Affiliations

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

Author Affiliation: Cambridge, Massachusetts (buschermax1@gmail.com).

JAMA. 2013;309(5):422. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.14130

Enflamed, raised, a zipper on my belly,
I woke to its sincere, near verbal reprimand,
“Do not stretch or scratch—tender me,
I am a sore but expected mystery for each of us.”
Twenty years of passions, travels to the Timbuktus
now a faded level crease.
I touch it in the shower, greet it in the mirror,
know it as an intimacy, privately and with affection.
I own this constant testimony to the nurses and anesthetists,
to the surgeon and his brave and eager resident,
for removing the uninvited and malignant guest
with five cms on both sides, anticipating all its knavery.
Other scars by accident, one of rage
gives but feeble memories.
This one stays forever,
and forever will touch me every day.