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Poetry and Medicine
September 18, 2013

Blood War

Author Affiliations
  • 1St Louis, Missouri

Copyright 2013 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2013;310(11):1187. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.5180

In her room, they take
precautions—gloves, masks,
the closed door and windows,
         filtered air—
though none of these, not even
the walls, keep out
     what came in with her blood.
To start over, she has to
     be undone, a field burned
to the ground, readied for
a new crop. Then nothing to do,
     she hovers outside herself,
         while someone else
takes charge, treats her body
like a full bottle—emptied
     only to be filled again.