Pectoriloquy |


Stella J. Padnos-Shea
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note: “I wrote the poem about a friend’s mother. She had died from multiple myeloma, before we met, and I found myself creating a small mythology around her. I am currently a practicing therapist in an outpatient mental health clinic in Brooklyn, NY.”

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

© 2011 American College of Chest Physicians

Chest. 2011;139(6):1542. doi:10.1378/chest.10-1451
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She stored every scrap in her body:
this secret between ribs, that trauma in a toe bone.
On went years of perfection, long polished fingernails at a good job.
The prevalence of surface.
She thought her disguise fit better,
pushing each weakness deeper and downer
until she had them buried under years, under skin.
But they were gathering strength while she slept.
The souvenirs began to turn on her,
stain seeping from the inside out.
Her bones hurt; her fictions became fevers.
Incurable memories multiplied inside her.
She needed transplants from people who spoke their stories.
Voice becoming medicine,
poison evaporating like an echo.
Her truth became a tumor that wouldn’t stop growing.




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