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Pectoriloquy |

Chapels in Intensive Care FREE TO VIEW

Georgie Lee Blalock
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Editor’s Note: The author writes: “‘Chapels in Intensive Care’ deals with the emotions I experienced during my grandfather’s short illness and death. The poem also reflects on the cycle of life and how it often begins and ends in a hospital.”

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;140(3):825. doi:10.1378/chest.10-2284
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The chapel across the hall
is a welcome respite
from the ruthless beep of machines,
the worried whispers of families shuffling two by two
into that holy of holies,
overcrowding the room with sorrow and anxiety.
I lay my burden down for a moment
in front of the altar,
the dim light a momentary refuge
for my red eyes and cracking heart.
I don’t pray so much as sigh,
arm around my sister.
This space is too small for all this life and death.
On another floor
I can almost hear the sigh of remission,
the happy wail of a baby
who’ll grow up
to sit in a chapel like this,
pleading not so much for life
but relief.


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