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Poetry and Medicine
May 14, 2008


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2008;299(18):2128. doi:10.1001/jama.299.18.2128

From six to twelve months
our daughter
does not gain an ounce.
In the laboratory I trap
her tiny wrists
as the phlebotomist
misses the vein,
piercing my baby again and again.
Here, this photo,
the crook of her right arm
bound in gauze, startling bulge
in proportion to the rest of her.
At night I sit and wonder
what is this thing
thick and black beneath the crib,
sucking her life into darkness.
In home movies I come to see
how little she smiles,
sags in the highchair,
listing to one side.
Babies from our birthing class
pass their milestones
as she slowly falls behind.
I hate the playgroup
where I watch the rest sitting,
crawling, then standing
to toddle. I want to pull
them back down to the ground,
pin their limbs,
keep them here
beside her.