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Unknown Boy: Leprosy
Private collection of John Wood
PATIENT OF DR. SHERWELL. Born in the West Indies. Improved under treatment but died of an intercurrent disease.
[George Henry Fox (1846-1937), American pioneer in dermatology]
My mother tells me prayer will help.
I think it won't, but try again:
"Look hard; their wings are white as milk,
and if you smile, they'll sometimes grin."
I looked so hard it hurt my eyes.
But she was right. I saw blue lips
and baby teeth, heard milky cries
floating toward me like small ships.
You're healed. Go unknown boy; go home.
Your herd awaits the winter hay.
But I was being nibbled down
and soon would be as real as they.
John Wood Endurance and Suffering: Narratives of Disease in the 19th Century (Edition Galerie Vevais, 2009) [Note: First edition is dated March 2007 but was published in October 2008.]