Pectoriloquy |


Sally Banks Zakariya
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Editor’s Note: The author writes: “I wrote the attached poem following a lobectomy for a mass that turned out to be an M. Kansasii granuloma, not cancer. The poem reflects my dream-like state upon emerging from the anesthetic–and my gratitude for having been spared a worse outcome.”

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;140(3):823. doi:10.1378/chest.10-1996
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On waking from surgery for a benign mass
When they took out half my lung
there was almost room for a small dog
but I’d like a squirrel instead in that narrow place
plus a lantern to cheer the pallid twilight inside
and a bird for company and
a ball of twine to help him find his way out
luckily they trimmed the nails on each foot
with meticulous care
and he gave no resistance
Really I could afford a scurry of squirrels
with the savings from quitting cigarettes
all those years ago
and that was the saving of me
thank god my body was parsimonious
with its punishment for bad habits




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