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Poetry and Medicine
April 10, 2013

Love in the SNU

Author Affiliations

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

Author Affiliation: Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia (dmcguire@msm.edu).

JAMA. 2013;309(14):1438. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.113922

after Sappho's “Fragment 31”

Whacked with a bat
in Dolores Park for his wallet,
Ari can't make new memories.
All day he lives in Then,
except when his wife of three
decades stands in the doorway.
In her dun-colored muumuu,
sandals from Thrift Co
that leave enough room
for her hammertoes,
she's Aphrodite.
He whoops and sighs
tries to unlock his Geri Chair.
His face is flushed,
then pale as maiden grass.
Suddenly he's mute—
his tongue,
broken by beauty.
That's when I'd give
my temporal lobe, 
my hippocampus whole,
for his cheap blue gown;
to gaze upon first love again,
by which one is made,
inflamed, destroyed—
then raised
to aerial ash
again and again.