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Poetry and Medicine
May 19, 2015

On Dealing With Our Mother’s Health Crisis, Day 3

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;313(19):1979. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.0708

A quaking aspen high above
the meadow here, but not so far
as the sea. Clustering leaves
at a right angle to earth,
appear precarious
holding on for life
at the summer peak of their strength.

Like a rock climber’s fingers
scratching a hard granite face
at the very point where she must decide
to move, or to lie—dead still in midair—
defying all laws of gravity
or to turn the corner, to wrestle past
what’s kept us from finding center.

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