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Poetry and Medicine
January 13, 2010

Post-op Tonic

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2010;303(2):112. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1868

Catalpa seed pods curled beneath white ground
carve elliptical edges in snow
distressed by last week's single day
melt. Arms of greenbrier stretch across
the trail to prick an ear exposed
to a sub-zero day in January. There are
more turkey tracks than footprints
along Fox Ridge. Behind piles of loess,
locust thorns point the way, a game
trail to bottomland, now a frozen lake
from the one day thaw. She examines seeded
scat and scat with fur, steps over the berm
heaved beside the lake, then tests the ice
for depth. She hears sound from her feet over
bottle bottom ice, crusted snow and frozen
ground. Nuthatch and woodpeckers dig bugs
in old cottonwoods. Up on Badger Ridge
she finds a half bushel of cracked walnut
shells littering the spot she stops to survey
the scene. Before heading home she soaks
in blue sky and honey waves of prairie
grass planted in skiffs of snow.