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Poetry and Medicine
May 14, 2019

Love Poem Without Wheat

Author Affiliations
  • 1South Orange, New Jersey
JAMA. 2019;321(18):1831. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.1553

If you can’t eat it I won’t
eat it, he says to my sister
when she tests positive
for celiac. Then they make
of themselves a small country
in North Jersey where wheat
will not grow, nor be bought,
nor be baked into bread
or cake, and in their solidarity
they will no longer miss it.
Already her spine has a comma
at its base where the bone
is brittling like candy: symptom
of the thing she has. Let others
savor what is soft and warm
from an oven, torn into.
They will step from the garden—
arms full of yellow heirlooms,
deep greens to be sautéed
for supper, rice. Two glasses
of wine before the washing up.

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