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Poetry and Medicine
June 3, 2009

Daydream for Travis

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2009;301(21):2190. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.686

His flexors conquered his extensors so soon.
His shoulders fold together, he holds himself in.
This hugging himself is what he does best.
When I pull his damp shirts from the washer,
I imagine cleaning that blankness off his precious face.
If I had the power I would carry him to the backyard in a basket,
untwist him, then clothespin him as a giggling child to the line.
The wind's seedling wings would parachute around him—
the sun pressing through his sleeves in waves of golden morning.
Then I’d move down the row, unrolling his wet socks,
humming to the taps of his flapping cotton.
If I could free his arms to sway and stir. . .
If he could kick and swing in all that air and light. . .
The washer is empty. The dryer's rumbling now.
So I climb the dark stairs to reposition his stiff little body in his chair.