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Poetry and Medicine
October 23/30, 2002

Congestive Heart Failure

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2002;288(16):1952. doi:10.1001/jama.288.16.1952

As deaths go, it'd be better
than most—
the self slipping off
in a sea
of morphined tranquility.
But for you, mother,
who braved Ukranian
who read us Do not go gentle
instead of nursery rhymes—
is this the good night
you choose?
A porcine valve
might save you,
but you just whistle
through your teeth.
"Pig gristle in my heart"
Look, I argue,
even God
wouldn't push kosher
that far.
"Darling," you say,
"This time
I fight the Cossacks
on my own soil."