Pectoriloquy |

That Asbestos Season FREE TO VIEW

Anthony Buccino
Author and Funding Information

Nutley, NJ

Correspondence to: Anthony Buccino, CB Press, PO Box 110252, Nutley, NJ 07110; e-mail: abiebook@aol.com

Chest. 2008;134(2):465. doi:10.1378/chest.08-1086
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Published online

No new buildings needed cripple joints,

or two by fours toed-in sixteen inches on center

to frame a wall and a window opening.

Nobody needed concrete nails to anchor a frame.

There wasn’t any carpenter work for the members

of the Carpenters and Joiners Local.

That season things were as bad as early

December when lots of jobs shut down

and the new jobs wait until spring to start.

So many Christmas holidays held the pendulum

of no toys this year because Dad had no work and,

well, you can’t expect Santa to buy everything, you know.

But this one season there came another job to do,

one that pays better than the carpentry.

All you had to do was fit the insulation around the pipe.

But who knew, or if they knew, would ever admit,

that the asbestos fibers released when you cut that stuff

to fit the pipe would then come back years later to kill you.

And anyway, it would look close enough to smoker’s cancer

that no one would ever suspect or look for asbestos

in that mess inside your chest. By that time,

no one will remember you or where you worked

or who paid you to fit that stinging asbestos insulation

around those pipes in that foolhardy asbestos season.

The money men would be long gone – you would be

shit out of luck, and someone would get well paid

to work in protective gear to undo the work you’ve done.

Editor’s Note: Anthony Buccino “edits business news all day and sneaks away at lunch to write poetry.” These two poems about his father describe an all too familiar story encompassing the beginning to the end.

Michael Zack, Section Editor, MD, FCCP




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