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Poetry Friday: Meditation on the Sickle Cell

Welcome to Poetry Friday! Every week we’re publishing the winning poems from April’s medical poetry contest. This week’s poem won one of two grand prizes and will also be published in the Health System’s literary journal Hospital Drive.

Meditation on the Sickle Cell
By Laura Kolbe

A harvest before autumn is slaughter.
We the sickled stand heart-deep
in hot soil and hate the scythe whizz slicing
and pinching us in our smallest, most furious
parts. No one knows our engorged spleen,
the comic-book grimace it demands
of us, the letters of invoice it mails in rage
until our throats are stuffed with debt.
By corn time, we measure by the empty
canteens, the square feet of shade under
the bronchial tree. The blade thirsts,
but the mouth thirsts first.

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