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Poetry and Medicine
October 9, 2018

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Author Affiliations
  • 1Kings College, Guy’s Hospital, London Bridge, London
JAMA. 2018;320(14):1498. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7129

It was a small hour
when I heard the lift
returning my daughter
from the operating room.
I was informed, ‘She’s okay.’
She had not been reduced
to blinking as a way of speaking.
She would never bungee jump,
or dive again, or swim front crawl,
but one day she would stand
and one day take first steps.
When I thanked the surgeons
I put my hands together
and my head was lowered.
Six weeks later, hand-in-hand
with her physiotherapist,
she would climb a flight of stairs.
Another milestone ten days later
– she would propose a race.
The two would vanish
up the stair well.
They would come down together
bent with laughter.

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