Pectoriloquy |


Stephen Cribari, JD, JCL
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note: The poet is a Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. He notes: “I wrote Massage Therapy after a deep muscle massage, the memory of which did not leave me for days. I have not had a massage since.”

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.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).

© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians

Chest. 2010;137(3):735. doi:10.1378/chest.09-1608
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What was I thinking! when I agreed to exchange
An hour of my life to rearrange
Some aching muscles calcified with stress,
And tendons cemented and turning into stone?
But the bargain concluded, I gave this unholy mess
Over to you, weary down to the bone.
Easy to locate the obvious, injured spaces
Was it not? You understand those places.
Your fingers tested the knots and ligaments
And probed the muscles kinked with cramp and strain-
But hitting those most secret of filaments
Was inexcusable. Lightning in the brain.
What was I thinking? I hate this messing about
With my body. (I have to keep people out
Having felt what it feels like feeling people abuse
The fire inside. I know they need to get warm –
I wish they could – but the fire in these tissues
Is no safe harbor from any storm.)
Afterward, it hit me like a stone:
For a time my body was yours, down to the bone,
And it betrayed me. It let you in and told
You everything, didn’t it, like a child caught in a lie?
Well, so what? One gets reckless, getting old.
And yet, there’s one regret (I, too, am shy):
How I so quickly told you the painful part
Is in the muscles up against my heart.




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