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Poetry and Medicine
January 25, 2006

Another Day of No Atonement

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jama-archives.org.

JAMA. 2006;295(4):361. doi:10.1001/jama.295.4.361

Rise, foam—rage, virtual particles;
what seethes in so-called empty space
might create a better place.
If God is everything, it was by
God's mercy that my patient John
lay dying of histiocytosis X.
SpongeBob, Maimonides.
Cartoons and ancient texts helped,
yet the fever never left him, or me—
Faith, faith. Life is almost atoms
swirling in nobody's court, yet
feeling almost lost is almost worse—
Crumbs and bits of almond on my tongue
days after just another death
on a day of no atonement,
six years of innocence, gone; sixty of
near-complete exile on this plagued earth;
yet, almost Godless, I reconstruct
a shelter for unmet desire
built on a world made of sand;
tell me, brief succah, where is my home?