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Poetry and Medicine
January 12, 2016

Three Treasures Healing

Author Affiliations
  • 1Nanuet, New York

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2016;315(2):205. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.9160

Family Visiting Room, Samaritan Hospital

His small face at the window, and then
  I’m buzzed in to hold him, to breathe
in his new separate smell. I’ve come prepared
  for this feeding: soy milk, tofu, fresh fruit.
His Manual of Acupuncture sits at the bottom
  of the brown bag the guard has looked
through, another semester interrupted. He wants
  me to test him: What is the pathway of the
Ren Mai conception vessel? what is the Luo
  connecting point of the heart channel? I’ve
been screened thoroughly to be sure that what I
  bring to him, mother to son, is appropriate;
no pens, no razors allowed past the locked door,
  but I can’t stop this sharp feeling in my chest,
and I know there has never been anything as
  wrong as this. He spots a friend across the
room, a young woman staring at the floor. This
  is my mother! He knows her from group. He
has given his treasures away: the picture of the girl
  he fell in love with at grad school; his aqua
aura chakra stone; the roll of quarters for phone
  calls. Someone else needed them more.