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Poetry and Medicine
December 22 2010

Inheritance

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2010;304(24):2678. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1687

This is my father's walker,
cane, commode, used against
parkinsonian tremors. We never thought
we’d need such things, bulwark against
the constant test of hip or knee.
Come shine or rain today, the drizzle
of a British countryside, or mere
Mancunian gray over Chicago,
you walk unstitched, lurching
into the path of old age.
You have only a little genie in a cane,
a loyal doglike walker, the throne
of a heavenly commode,
and Papa's voice:
Walk not, like me, trembling into the dark,
but into your brief future sound and fit
to find the dappled spot where
the road ends. Til then,
we travel together, your hand
on my cane.

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