Pectoriloquy |


Peter Nash, MD
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Editor’s Note: Peter Nash is a semi-retired family physician in rural Northern California. He writes in the morning, occasionally helps his wife in the garden, boards two elderly mares, and makes house calls in his pickup with his dog Henry. He writes: “In more than 40 years of family practice I have biopsied hundreds of suspicious lesions of which dozens have proved to be melanomas. Each time I biopsy that little area of tissue I’m amazed at how this speck of darkness can destroy a human life and its myriad relationships.”

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

© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians

Chest. 2010;138(2):454. doi:10.1378/chest.09-2325
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Ace of spades,
blotch of pitch
small as a pencil eraser,
the borders twitch
like a pine snake going to earth
waiting to emerge in the back of your eye
or the soft folds of your groin.
Filled with sooty grains,
black missles aim at the distant stars,
and I’m trying to cut out the first rogue cluster
taking 5 millimeter healthy margins from the base of your neck.
And now it’s in the speciman jar
I look into the black hole,
pull the walls together with nylon sutures
and hope you’ll live
the requisite years of an ordinary life
before the dark motes
float to the far ends of the universe,
the small cells of annihilation.




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