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Poetry and Medicine
May 8, 2002

Prey of Pain

JAMA. 2002;287(18):2329. doi:10.1001/jama.287.18.2329

From the cavity I call home,
pain took voice and cut tongue out,
pirates-blade-bold. Concern-for-others
withered dry. Unsatisfied, pain
bit out my taste buds at the root tip
three centimeters below joy and
loosened four wisdom teeth.
Pain left me hoarse—raspy throated
and unable to see anyone but myself.
Still unsatisfied,
pain rose, red-eared,
and gold-lobed ever so
symmetrically around
the soft palate covering
my pallid underbelly.
Saliva flowed to selfish
trying to wash hurt away.
I drowned, wrapped
up in myself, bound and chained
to pain, bound and chained
inside secondary gain.

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