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Poetry and Medicine
January 22, 2019

The Persistence of Metaphor

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
JAMA. 2019;321(3):311. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.12273

Illness is not a metaphor…the most truthful way of regarding illness is one most purified of…metaphoric thinking.

Susan Sontag

I scrub my illness with disinfectant
to remove its horns and cloven feet.

I ridicule the crazy tales that pain tells
and sterilize them with ethylene oxide.

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