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Poetry and Medicine
August 18, 2004

Panic Attack

Author Affiliations

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

JAMA. 2004;292(7):779. doi:10.1001/jama.292.7.779

She sits, watching beyond the tempered pane
when suddenly the something comes again,
this false euphoria that will not stop
before it has progressed beyond that gap
of objectless obsessive undertow
toward an ultra-consciousness of now.
The harsh awareness thumping in her chest
sets a tingle to her limbs; her raw breaths
rub in and out like some ghostly sex act,
the episode itself after-the-fact,
though what that fact may be she doesn't know,
its dead-ending only part of the flow.
Experience has taught her she will not die.
At times she finds herself wondering why.