Pectoriloquy |

O Barium Swallow FREE TO VIEW

Benjamin E. Nardolilli
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note: The author states: “I wrote this poem after having a barium scan at the hospital. I am a 24-year-old writer currently living in Arlington, Virginia.”

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 (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).

© 2011 American College of Chest Physicians

Chest. 2011;139(2):471. doi:10.1378/chest.10-0113
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Wearing the latest in sterile with two gowns:
One a robe, the other a cape,
Sanitary flowing down the radiology hall,
I have gotten to keep my shoes,
New loafers with oxblood heels that click
Down the corridor like a commandant.
There is nothing gray about me yet,
Nothing wrinkled and memories
Have not blessed me and left,
I am the youngest in this winding place,
Swallowing chalky solutions
Spiked with pale strawberry imitations.
My world is the twin poles of a waiting room
And a radioactive plastic divan,
I circulate between them both,
It helps the solution travel down the works
So that the doctors may x-ray insides,
Catching the ileum in its native habitat.
I drink every cup of glue they offer,
It has no real taste, but a weight instead,
My intestines harden and become pouches,
On the screen I watch them dangle
Like puppets temporarily suspended,
The rest resembles old telephone chords.
This is all a dress rehearsal I tell myself
As the doctor makes my tied tubes dance,
I have a costume and a drink,
Lines to repeat about my condition,
In old age I will know worse ailments,
Yet no ritual will surprise me in the hospital.




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