Pectoriloquy |


Michael Steffen
Author and Funding Information

Roseto, PA

Correspondence to: Michael Steffen, 11 Columbus St, Apartment 4, Roseto PA 18013; e-mail: msteffen@fastmail.fm

Chest. 2008;134(1):213. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0320
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Published online

Recovering from bypass surgery, I slowly walk the hall

on the top floor of a hospital. I’ve been issued

a brown plush bear with a white t-shirt,

curved limbs, spoon-shaped paws and a booklet,

“The Care and Feeding of Sir Koff-A-Lot,”

which illustrates how I’m to use him as a cushion.

Press his back against your incision. This will exert a counterforce

that will ease the pain of your coughing. Shuffling along,

dangling my bear beside me, I peer through an open door.

A man is propped in his bed—motionless, detached,

clutching a bear to his stitched chest, stroking its soft fur.

He sees me, and I nod. He nods back. It’s been established

that we possess the same marks in our flesh.

We wave our bears at each other. We smile.

Editor’s Note:The poet has an MFA in Creative Writing and has been published in the best poetry journals. He states that “Pain Bears” was written from personal experience and shares a somewhat odd, but comforting moment during a very difficult time.

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP




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