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Pectoriloquy |

So, You Want To Be In Films FREE TO VIEW

Harris Gardner
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Editor’s Note: “I am a poet and poet activist. I wrote this poem following a comprehensive appointment with my cardiologist.”

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(3):720. doi:10.1378/chest.09-2916
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Published online

Act One, Scene One, Take One.
A genetic aberration:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopath-
I can’t even pronounce it.
My heart has become a star.
Hello, Hollywood, good-by.
My pulsing muscle stays here with me.
I can’t bear to be apart from it.
The MRI- The camera covers all
the angles: close-ups and long shots.
My heart is a ham. It performs
an unscripted dance.
A cocoon immerses me in Mozart’s music.
A tunnel floods with light;
still, I want to dream.
The technician keeps me alert.
“Breathe, exhale, hold your breath.”
I am drowning in light.
Film flashes forward.
Visit to the cardiologist,
An exchange of jests.
“About the murmur,
what’s it saying?”
Then, a picture chart
explains the challenges
to monitor the murmured refrain.
A new take on the “Tell-Tale Heart.”
Asymptomatic-no pain or related
symptoms. No end credits to roll.
Then, the piece de resistance:
The specialist flips a switch.
There it is, stage-center,
the star! The doctor shows the area
of the third rail: moderate aortic stenosis.
Case not closed.
Not a five-star rating?
Edgy, no holds barred.
Thoughtful, provoking!
More than a life-time
of performances.
No beta-blockers-yet!
No edited film.
No cutting floor projected.
For now, the heart- frets are “minor”.
Later is a distant day.
This is a wrap!


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