Pectoriloquy |


Barbara Daniels, MFA
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: Barbara Daniels, MFA; e-mail: barbarajdaniels@comcast.net

Editor's Note: When she was asked why she wrote this poem, the poet replied, probably to us all: “When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I expected to die in a short time…. The title of my poem answers the poem's question…. Thank you for asking, and thank you for your life of healing and your life in poetry.”

—Michael Zack, MD, FCCP, Section Editor

Editor's note for authors of submissions to Pectoriloquy: Poems should not exceed 350 words, should not have been previously published, and should be related 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.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).

Chest. 2008;134(5):1106. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0983
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Spicebush swallowtail butterflies
veer toward me and pass, meandering,
taking the sun-struck gravel road.
This morning a man spoke haltingly,
but his son said Panasonic, that's
what we'll get. I heard Jennifer call in
the man's tests. Too many scans, too late
a stage, but he wants the TV.
Beautiful Jennifer
tells the men to enjoy their weekend
and I wish that too, as high as possible
a percentage of sun, iced tea,
the new big screen and movement on it.
What was the reason for my trip
to the clinic and the long drive,
down a rutted lane into Tuckahoe?
Evidence accumulates, blood in vials,
a nurse discarding plastic gloves,
the doctor washing his hands.
Which am I,
a sun-browned woman eating her sandwich
in a lot behind a convenience store
or one who floats, precisely balanced,
not sinking, not rising? Which is there
more of in this world, I wonder,
more pain or more joy?




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