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Poetry and Medicine
July 12, 2000

Dr Lazarus Explains

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2000;284(2):153. doi:10.1001/jama.284.2.153

Bicycle spinning East, body
flying North I ate asphalt
with broken teeth and no wine
finer than blood to wash this
indignity down. I woke to
a predictable "world of hurt,"
an atlas of wounds and tangled
neurons, and this massive
indigestion. Months after
experiencing saving grace
my old dog's body is
teaching itself new tricks:
knitting bone (without dropping
a stitch) and finding a thread
through memory's cave.
Each moment since tottering
at the lip of the cataract
each second since avoiding
the stone teeth of the tomb
I have celebrated my altered
state but can't describe
death's rooms. Having
witnessed all, I have failed
to bring back scientific facts.
Resurrection: shall I say
it is debridement, a mottled
skin after a mystic burn?
Or a silent metamorphosis
of emeralds growing in
the mountain's heart?
Or say it is the miracle of
healing, of fragile
flesh recrystallizing bone.
It is a fearless affirmation.
A cradle filled with
light. This coming home.