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Poetry and Medicine
September 11, 2002

The Last Ball

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2002;288(10):1202. doi:10.1001/jama.288.10.1202

My mother drifting loose in time
is waltzing at the Tsar's last ball.
Her costume sparkles with Fabergé
gems in the dying winter light.
She has come at ninety to the core
of her dreams. Past the dark space
before her life began, she can twirl
in a prince's arms, Yiddish forgotten,
fluent in tongues that speak of love
alone. She is ablaze with beauty,
luminous as the music moves within
the plaques and tangles of her brain.

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