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Poetry and Medicine
January 13, 1999


Author Affiliations

Edited by Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;281(2):113. doi:10.1001/jama.281.2.113

Even falling rises
In praise of light

—Wendell Berry, Sabbaths: 1979 II

She fell twenty feet
off a balcony like a most unlucky Juliet
landing in the lap of grace
fractured jaw shattered knee, she was
collected home, unto wings of parents
despairing over those few seconds
the swish of the pendulum
now a scythe
now a swing.
Stripped of metal
I sit in the scanner room
watch my son's head disappear
into the white torus.
The machine jackhammers
off on off on
beats the air between us.
His legs, too short for the bolster
remind me of a bus bench, a church pew
that precious space between
children's feet and the floor.
At work, life is not so fortunate.
Cancer eroding through vessels
dense hemiparesis
a hip infected and foul.
Daffodils trumpet spring one day
pollarded by snails overnight.
We rise, praise god
the lengthening day
and the day to come.