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Poetry and Oncology
February 10, 2022


Author Affiliations
  • 1National University Health System, Singapore
JAMA Oncol. 2022;8(4):651. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.7246

Let us not mistake the hospital for a home
Outside, the alarms go off, an emptied pump, a disconnected plug
Be careful, head sister says—these doors are heavy
perhaps four times your weight, for you were
the gush of wind, a kind of flippancy
before four hundred pounds of metal preserves yet again negative pressured air
You laugh, rearrange your iPad, a stuffed monkey
You put them away because I have come as an intruder, uninvited;
I flush your PICC—it is the third time
The music box bleats a well-wound tune
I ask if you are alright; you joked that the next time I should bring tea
We watch a video on your iPad, but I really only have four minutes to spare.

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