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Pectoriloquy |

After Quadruple Bypass Surgery FREE TO VIEW

Mark Thalman, MFA
Author and Funding Information

Forest Grove, OR

Correspondence to: Mark Thalman, MFA, 3110 Hillside Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116; e-mail: Oregonpoet@aol.com



Chest. 2008;133(4):1048. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0029
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Published online

If pain were water, I would call a plumber.

I would not need a nurse to fill my glass.

I would have enough for a pond of trout.

If pain were water, the levee is about to break.

If pain were water, I would be praying for low tide.

I would carry an open umbrella even inside.

I would be drenched to the skin by the internal typhoon.

If pain were water, I would have drowned a long time ago.

If pain were fire, I would jump in the Mississippi.

I would call 911 to bring the hook and ladder.

I would be a smoldering ember singing,

Stitch” another piece of my heart

If pain were fire, I would be a torch, burning alive.

If pain were fire, I’d be blowing sax in a smoky nightclub,

where only the stage is lit, and light filters back

like my notes filling the dim corners of the room–

preach’n to souls whose church is to wake late

on Sunday afternoons. If pain were fire,

I would gladly give away these blues.

Editor’s Note: The poet told CHEST he wrote “After Quadruple Bypass Surgery,” “because I wanted others to understand the extreme pain of surgery. When reading hospital booklets about quadruple bypass surgery, I found little mention of the pain, probably to not scare patients. Writing the poem has also helped me deal with my own experience, having had two heart attacks, three stent operations, and a quadruple bypass.” He has an MFA in Creative Writing and teaches English in public schools.

Michael Zack, MD Section Editor of Pectoriloquy

Editor’s note for authors of submissions to Pectoriloquy: Poems should not exceed 350 words, should not have been previously published, and should relate to concerns of physicians and medicine. First submissions to the Pectoriloquy Section should be submitted via e-mail topoetrychest@aol.com. Authors of accepted poems will be asked to submit the final version to CHEST Manuscript Central.


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