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Poetry and Medicine
November 20, 2002


Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2002;288(19):2371. doi:10.1001/jama.288.19.2371

I can't look at blown-up photos of granular cells
gritty microbial budding and bulging, furry
rufts, pustulant fissures give me the shivers
fascinated though I am by minuscule life
the unseen rife with our hope
or our nemesis, depending,
perhaps even our ending,
all the things we have in us, greater
than the Guiness Book of Records and more
startling. We carry our share of the planet
as we're meant to, but falsely chaste
purveyors of good taste we fail
to mention the riotous convention
within, a perilous forgetting of what lies
where we avert our eyes, that
bulbous teeming fecund overblown busyness
unconcerned with charity, vying
for posterity.