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Pectoriloquy |

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Robert Joseph Foley, MA
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Editor’s Note: The author writes: “My poetic endeavors have only begun after a 34-year career as a teacher of English and Drama in Westchester County, NY.”

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP

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/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2010;137(1):232. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0802
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Given the choice of protracted death
Or death without goodbye,
I’d choose the pain of leaving slow
Above a sudden mortal blow.
One stroke that steals the breath away,
A random bullet to the brain,
Leaves no chance to make amends
Or bid farewell to fond old friends.
What? Leave, and have the kinfolk weep?
I’d be robbed of satisfaction at their grief !
I’m fearful that a heart attack
Will cruelly stab me in the back.
Oh, no! I’d rather see friends squirm,
At rumor of a parasitic germ.
I’d much prefer a slow cirrhosis
Or even multiple sclerosis.
Over coronary thrombosis
I’d opt for dementia psychosis.
Offered the chance of pancreatic cancer,
Yes, please! would be my answer.
In bed with life supporting tubes
While loved ones feign a smile
Would ease without a passing doubt
The sudden pain of checking out.
Supreme delight to see them seeing me
Respiring in an O2 tent
Happily lapsing to a coma
Eons past detecting melanoma.
And they concerned exuding keen
In searching for a reason,
Crack with mine their poised facades
While lashing out at cruel, indifferent Gods.


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