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Poetry and Medicine
October 15, 2019


Author Affiliations
  • 1Laguna Honda Hospital, San Francisco, California
JAMA. 2019;322(15):1521. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.12547

I chose pink, a cluster of carnations
lifted from their bin and carried home.

Trim the stems, the florist said,
a tip meant to make them last longer.

One phone call can change things.
My brother says jaundice, a mass, surgery in March.

The body presents its wishes:
my arms to fly to him,
my eyes to unlock a window, flood him with April, May, June.

We are small in the memory that slips in.
He’s pushing me into the air and I swing back to him

and back again and somewhere between the sun and the sand,
I leap.

He says a chance,
he says third opinion,
he says I’ll see you when I wake up.

Then it’s him asking
to sail higher, faster, his cheek to the sky before he lets go.

My palms, upturned and pink, as if I could catch him.

Section Editor: Rafael Campo, MD, MA, Associate Editor.
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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Sharon Pretti (slpretti@sbcglobal.net).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

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