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Poetry and Medicine
October 16, 2013

Fathers and Sons

Author Affiliations
  • 1Ballard Pediatric Clinic, Seattle, Washington
JAMA. 2013;310(15):1628. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.7184

Almost midnight, after music and poetry, the talk
in the bar turns to fathers and sons. Not the novel
by Turgenev, but the real live fathers who live on
in us. We tell the stories of the ones we cradled
when they collapsed. The ones who never understood.
The ones we were in awe of. Those whom we cleaned
of their own filth in their waning days. The ones whom,
one night, we threw downstairs. Those stories that,
for those of us who have them,
we hope to spare our sons.