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May 1, 2002

PoetrySupernumerary Poem with Fruit Pastries that Allegorically Addresses Death

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Copyright 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2002American Medical Association

JAMA. 2002;287(17):2289. doi:10.1001/jama.287.17.2289-JBK0501-1A-1

When I was ill with mononucleosis,
Two moon-faced children came to me and said,
"We once were triplets." Feverish, I stared
At their identical pink quadriceps,
Suspicious of the slow pentameter
In which they spoke. A sextant showed the way
To where their sister rest in peace: SEPTEMBER
8th, date of death (not birth), was chiseled on
Her grey nonagonal tombstone. I cried,
For all the decades I had lived in fear;
The twins, who looked to be eleven years
Of age or so, refused the dozen pastries none
Had offered. "Triskaidekaphobia!"
They shrieked. "1492!" was my reply,
Unsure the etymology of quince
Was one less than my Spanish sonnet's lines.
—Raphael Campo

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