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Poetry and Medicine
August 15, 2001


JAMA. 2001;286(7):767. doi:10.1001/jama.286.7.767

When her puckered fingers, her kissing hands begin
a tender rummage among the pock and rubble
of my flesh, I suture the moment her kiss has been
completed to when she sponges the stringy drool
from my neck and chest, and to when she scans the room
from the doorway.
                  And I'm left with salve stink,
a crumbling gut, my head in pillow loam,
snowed in a morphinic drip of nickelic tincture,
and the fibrillating man in the next bed
has come to my gravesite.
                  Come back to my gravesite I
would call to her, an entreatment, encapsuled on my
sawdust tongue, for her to attend to the dead
with the same love she gives to musculature and process,
so that I might sense, even in the cut and the release, her caress.

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