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Pectoriloquy |

Monster Body FREE TO VIEW

Laura Hershey, MFA
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Editor’s Note: The author states: “I wrote “Monster Body” in celebration of my own disability. I aimed to acknowledge my body’s struggles, including compromised respiratory function, and its primary interface with the world, the base of my spirituality.”

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2010;138(3):750. doi:10.1378/chest.09-2331
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I mock the human form
My back, shell-sharp curve, my thin wrist bone
Limbs that do not twitch beyond the digits
Illustrate terror, the randomness of damage
Right lung so different from left
Thrust forward, fuller-breathed
Its more delicate mate shrunken
Adjusting to a smaller, collapsing cage
Brief breaths, bent bones
Muscles weak as water, still as sleeping stars
Monster mine, monster body
One I would not trade
Not Shelley’s “hideous phantasm”
Just parts made from imperfect materials: sinew, scar
Cells, fluid, fat, and heart
Still I roar when burned by exile
Mobs swinging angry torches through stone streets.
Stubborn flesh threat of frail menace
Vulnerability shocking as violence
Dangerous, I carry
Secrets in my castle, fainted women in my healing search
Empathy repatriates me.
I take this shape, my body
Monster body mine
By my body I journey,
I learn, I love.
It is my lens, my light.


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