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Poetry and Medicine
May 1, 2013

For a Dead Psychiatrist

JAMA. 2013;309(17):1757. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.130932

There is no waiting for appointment. Three
o’clock in shady moss, the lichen ties the Celtic cross.
My compass fails true north, O’Grady.
Degree by degree, Polaris dies beside O’Grady:
starry-lit crisscross-cracked cosmos!
Thursday I climb the hill above the sea. At three
the mourning dove out flies the morning day.
I keep the haywire hour: red arrow's magnetic loss:
the needle's oracle spins beside O’Grady.
Under the hill above the sea, the bone-dry clay;
cold compass sways aside the knotted cross.
Thursday I keep appointment at the slab-slate gray.
Steeple by steeple New England rings at three.
Each marble angel, carved, reconciles grave to ghost.
Winter roses bloom aside the compass rose. O’Grady,
the day tolls too in County Cork: magpie sings to jay;
broken north turns to the Celtic Sea across the coast.
Dead-man's float at three: appointment card thrown to sea.
The compass dead beside the dead, O’Grady!

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