[Skip to Content]
Sign In
Individual Sign In
Create an Account
Institutional Sign In
OpenAthens Shibboleth
Purchase Options:
[Skip to Content Landing]
Views 1,193
Citations 0
Poetry and Medicine
December 4, 2018

Low-Dose Opioid Hyperalgesia

Author Affiliations
  • 1Newcastle, Washington
JAMA. 2018;320(21):2274. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.11161

They gave me pills for pain
and I took them for my memories,
knowing this taking
carried warnings of dependence.
I became the drug of sleep
slowly, Hypnos a mask to cover
amnesia. Afraid to wake
too much I watched birds slip
from trees, heard wind and water
narrow the spaces. Between proverbs
the sun came and went. At times
the moon sprouted like an eye
in the backyard—sinister,
unyielding, veiled by wisps of cloud.

They gave and I took for twenty years
what turned me into this churl
who lives close to the ground.
Instead of fresh blood, my veins
fill with grubs and maggots,
those I recognize as kin
to twinned states of jealousy
and servitude. The little power
I wield comes from restraint.
My drum's grown hollow
as a chimney the woodpecker
hammers in spring.

Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.
Submissions: Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jamanetwork.org.
Back to top
Article Information

Corresponding Author: Judith Skillman (judith.skillman@comcast.net).

Limit 200 characters
Limit 25 characters
Conflicts of Interest Disclosure

Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.

Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.

Err on the side of full disclosure.

If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.

Limit 140 characters
Limit 3600 characters or approximately 600 words