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Poetry and Medicine
June 19, 2002

Sonnets for Anne

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2002;287(23):3050. doi:10.1001/jama.287.23.3050

A spasm of loneliness grips my
esophagus—I wish it were otherwise.
On my side of the phone, the lousy
old forest sinks into darkness and silence.
On your side, the illuminated kitchen
blazes with liveliness, and in the hum
of your eager voice, I imagine
a slim piece of our separation
sawed off and the two ends brought nearer
together. I see us as Siamese twins,
joined at the chest, sharing one heart. I fear we're
predictable, out of date, and too damn
intense, which leads me to contemplate
our beginnings, and what made us that.
What does a Big Bang mean? A speck
some astronomers picked up has spent thirteen
billion years in reaching us—they accept
it as a type of relic from the time
the universe went from a thin ocean
of monotony to the lumpiness
that invented things. The scent of lotion
on your hands, the unintended caress
of your fingertips brushing my lower arm,
my gratitude at spinning in an orbit
that nurtures life, your well worn alarm
when I ask questions like, Does any of it
mean anything? Or are we going anywhere?
I don't know, but please stay, until we're there.