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Poetry and Medicine
March 7, 2007

Selectivity

Author Affiliations
 

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

JAMA. 2007;297(9):928. doi:10.1001/jama.297.9.928

Where thalamic clavichords have
keys uncountable, only spidery hands
can finger major, minor—a third
from joy to blue, a fifth from rose
to sky. A single hydrogen may
hold the right key down, a methyl—
turn the night sky green. Once,
ham-fisted phenothiazines slammed
out cacophonies like diskinetic
drunks at a karaoke bar, thick fingers
beating joy with pain. Now
nanobot Perahias slip blood/brain
fences unescorted, pump serotonin
yo-yos between synaptic paddles
until a side-man flips a switch,
sends voltages to keyboards and mixers
down the line. Pure frequencies.
For the music, details we needn't know.

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