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Poetry and Medicine
November 12, 2008

Hover craft

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2008;300(18):2100. doi:10.1001/jama.300.18.2100

Hair grown back now; always wanted but
critical starting pre-K; backpack straps curve
over shoulders and cross collar bones that
only six months ago knobbed out of loose
gowns in cold onc unit rooms now unseen
under shirt and needless jacket in still summer
September; no books packed yet, just 10:30
snack—half sandwich on whole wheat chick
pea mash medium for maitake powder magic,
organic juice box chaser, and the teacher—
Miss Lindsay or Kristen—barely 28 with kindly
smile but no idea they were handing off two years
living scan to scan when every headache is
alarm and every smile scrutinized to see both
mouth sides rise, no idea she had barely been
out of their sight that whole time except weekday
workdays for him and those short spells of light-
sleep nights for both until the monitor pinch
hitting out of attic retirement buried breathing
noise with crackle and hiss and one of them
would be up, doorway gazing, bedside lurking
or sometimes floor quilt all-nighting, but
after the “all clear” and “start living” advice
the four hours MWF mornings might work
with rules: Bus stop corner curbside? One
more germ-swap-athon when the classroom
and playground meant too many already? And
all those stops stretching a car's 2 miles and 5
minutes to half an hour plus? Plus risk motion
sick too mixed with other dizzy queasy-makers
and too much like the PICC port times? No. We
drive, last-minute drop-off and come-early pick-
up just in case; just in case; and in between the
phone always on, Für Elise ring tone set high,
avoid tree-alee back roads, parks, the frozen-
food aisle and every other dead cell spot and
never forget to recharge every overnight.