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Poetry and Medicine
December 4, 2002

My Tomography Report

JAMA. 2002;288(21):2651. doi:10.1001/jama.288.21.2651

It's not like I need,
at seventy-two,
continuous denial of death.
Actually, knowing it will be my heart,
that most common of doors,
comes with relief.
Still, I did expect when the news came
clarification would begin:
contrast between greens sharper,
yellows deeper, white
suddenly radiant.
But no:
Edges of tree shadows
moving across my spring lawn remain silent;
horns in the andante of Mahler's Ninth
still only distant calling;
those I hold close, no closer.
The only differences I've noticed
are three pill bottles
lined up behind my Listerine toothpaste,
a spray vial of nitroglycerine (just in case)
in my keys-pocket
and these annoying rumors
along the dark alleys of my chest.

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