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Poetry and Medicine
February 14, 2017

Internal Rhythm

Author Affiliations
  • 1Minneapolis, Minnesota
JAMA. 2017;317(6):649. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.15751

She leans in, tethering
her ears
to the Walkman
of the ribcage,
adjusting the breast
above the cassette,
and then lowers
her head in stethoscopic
thought. Her finger
secretly steps
her thigh, counting
the beats—S1, S2,
chords moving through
the eight-bar blues.
The bicuspid’s
click, the gallop’s thrill
and kick. The crescendo of a murmur
traced to where
it radiates,
traced to the place
where the pulse of life
against its shore.