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Poetry and Oncology
March 7, 2019

Beat of the Same Drum

Author Affiliations
  • 1McGill University Healthcare Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
JAMA Oncol. 2019;5(5):663. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.7167

My white coat was stiff and my hands were cold
I almost did not recognize you, with the weight loss, and all
But your hands gave it away, as they drummed on the examination table
(it had a pretty nice timbre, for an examination table)
I introduced myself, we shook hands, and I asked if we had already met, and then it
clicked
“You sold me my first box drum!” I exclaimed
And the expression on your face was one of pure delight, as you corrected me:
“It’s called a cajón
Your wife laughed
And I think we all forgot that you had cancer in that moment
And that is how I will forever remember you
I found out that you passed away the other day
And now when I look at that cajón that lives in my apartment,
I think of the beauty of simple human connection,
the beat that connects us all

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