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Poetry and Medicine
November 18, 1998


JAMA. 1998;280(19):1644S. doi:10.1001/jama.280.19.1644

The surgeon draws an S in ink across
my sole precisely where his incision
will be. As my toes curl, he says the mass
is flush against bone and enmeshed in nerves,
but firm. This pleases him. How long has
it been there, he wonders, probing again,
eyes closed. His hand moves with precision
down my instep, where tendons stretch, and curves
back over the arch. Like a magician,
he distracts me with his gestures and voice,
making nothing of something, moving fast,
all patter and smiles. He shifts position
and my foot is bathed in harsh light that flows
past his shoulder, accenting the high gloss
given off by my skin over the growth.

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