Pectoriloquy |


Margaret Robinson, BA, MA
Author and Funding Information

Chester, PA

Correspondence to: Margaret Robinson, BA, MA, Widener University, Creative Writing, One University Pl, Chester, PA 19013; e-mail: mar0002@mail.widener.edu

Chest. 2008;133(6):1528. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0310
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Waiting room,



as a walk-in closet.

People speak

only to staff.

Most seats filled,

not one window,

easy to think

of bars and locks.

Caught knee-to-knee,

we pretend to read old

magazines, hear the dates

of everyone’s blood test,

insurance fight facts.

Covertly we peek

at injured cage mates-

a woman with a crutch

and a bandaged leg,

a man’s left eye,

concealed by a patch.

An attendant calls out,

Margaret? I jump up,

mouse-tiny, taut,

as does another Margaret,

brown-bear-big, her bald scalp

wrapped in a seashell hat.

We look at each other

across the sickness box,

two mammals, trapped.

My bad margins,

no lymph taint

meet her exhausted chemo face.

The whole group laughs.

Editor’s Note: Margaret Robinson teaches Creative Writing. Describing this poem of her own breast cancer: “Writing everything down helps control terror. Later, from those recorded moments, poetry can happen.

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP 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 to poetrychest@aol.com. Authors of accepted poems will be asked to submit the final version to CHEST Manuscript Central.




Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Find Similar Articles
  • CHEST Journal
    Print ISSN: 0012-3692
    Online ISSN: 1931-3543