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Poetry and Medicine
May 28, 2008

On the Water

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2008;299(20):2366. doi:10.1001/jama.299.20.2366

The wind makes a web on the water.
The oars make a song.
The green makes and solves a mystery.
The city sleeps.
She practices a start—
half slide, half, three-quarters, full, full.
She pulls long into morning,
faces where she was.
The water holds its secrets. The blades slip in and out.
Minutes pass like fish.
The hull skims across the lake.
The sun is in her hair.
Leaves emerge, soft as moths,
shiver in the wind.
Spring streams around her.
She is blooming.
The shell is a cradle.
This is a birth.