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Pectoriloquy |

WINDED FREE TO VIEW

Joannie Kervran Stangeland
Author and Funding Information

Editor's Note: The author wrote “Winded” the year her family contracted whooping cough.

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.09-1273
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Published online

I.

Time propels her in ticks,
the stitches that slide like Dali's clocks
into a puddle under her ribs—
a bowl that holds this visceral soup.
If she moves, it will slosh and spill.
If she stays, it fills like spring in a pond.
A strange exchange of atmosphere—
her throat chokes its own air.
She counts on syrup and aerosols,
elixir doled out in small spoons.
In a dozen hours—or days—she might
sew her breath without a catch.
Breath feeds the body,
into the lungs, into the blood,
and stays. The body keeps its atmosphere.
The throat clenches, clutches air close,
and she struggles against
the wall of herself. Let it out.
Let it in. The miracle resuming.
How trades are made: oxygen—
a swap through the thinnest membranes—
bonding with blood, keeping
the body pink.
This most elemental of bargains—
we thought we had a deal.

II.

Time propels her in ticks,
the stitches that slide like Dali's clocks
into a puddle under her ribs—
a bowl that holds this visceral soup.
If she moves, it will slosh and spill.
If she stays, it fills like spring in a pond.
A strange exchange of atmosphere—
her throat chokes its own air.
She counts on syrup and aerosols,
elixir doled out in small spoons.
In a dozen hours—or days—she might
sew her breath without a catch.
Breath feeds the body,
into the lungs, into the blood,
and stays. The body keeps its atmosphere.
The throat clenches, clutches air close,
and she struggles against
the wall of herself. Let it out.
Let it in. The miracle resuming.
How trades are made: oxygen—
a swap through the thinnest membranes—
bonding with blood, keeping
the body pink.
This most elemental of bargains—
we thought we had a deal.


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