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Poetry and Medicine
August 7, 2002


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2002;288(5):549. doi:10.1001/jama.288.5.549

September of stone.
That day everyone,
in some way, wrote a poem.
That day needed words
the way creatures and crops need fields.
For whenever there are fields,
something is free.
Of all the few reasons for gladness,
the requiem's song
within each, helped us visit
a ground personal,
marking our own terrorists
from the lineup
and seek them out,
in caves distant as marrow.
With time though, rhetoric luffed.
Words split like serpent's tongue,
going one way towards grace,
the other towards a void
of dark-goggled men
shooting sparks at steel,
towards the solemn white-gloved
triangulation of flags.
Those rising smokes begot October.
Autumnal trees menstrually cast
leaves yellow with remembering,
pressed to a clot of dampness.
Today there is a low tide pause.
In the sink, last night's rice
is dying in a bowl.
A paint-scraped dinghy
is turned over, on the sand,
I have learned this lesson before.
It's not that the wind is cold
or the morning dreary.
It's that your heart is broken.