Pectoriloquy |


Adam Berlin, MFA
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note: Adam Berlin is an Associate Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

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.

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP

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(4):999. doi:10.1378/chest.09-1697
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The fighter holds
his heavy breaths,
lies and teeth pressed
against mouthpiece,
hiding too-tired
until the bell.
But when he succumbs
to truth between rounds,
sitting on his stool,
safe for that single
minute’s rest,
what resignation
must he wish for?
To get hit
in the face
is unnatural.
The cornerman holds
cotton swabs dipped
in adrenaline
to stop the blood,
presses an enswell
against welts,
squeezes the sponge,
a cold water wake
up against neck, shoulders.
Intensive care nurses
have more time.
Propped on a three-legged
hospital bed, gloved-hands
held up by ropes,
eyes glazed, tongue white,
the fighter stares
across the ring,
a sick man slowly dying.




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