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Poetry and Medicine
August 2, 2006


Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jama-archives.org.

JAMA. 2006;296(5):482. doi:10.1001/jama.296.5.482

Mistletoe haloes the dead
oak standing in the park,
empty as a child unfed.
The plant clings to bark
living only on what's left,
oak standing in the park,
yet empty, only its cloak left,
lightning charred inside—
like a child living on what's left
of chipped self, may hide
in skin, hoping you will hold
her, not strike. She burns inside,
an oak standing, growing old
too soon of fending blows
on skin, hoping you will hold
her snug against you, fill hollows
the way Mistletoe haloes the dead
oak. No hope of ending blows,
she grows empty, a child unfed.