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Pectoriloquy |

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Maxine Susman, PhD
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: Maxine Susman, PhD, Highland Park, NJ 08904; e-mail: msusman1@verizon.net

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).


Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).


Chest. 2009;135(1):244. doi:10.1378/chest.08-1558
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Published online

optometrist dilates one eye
but you're quick, bat his hand away
before he squirts his poison in the other.
He wants to help you, he's doing his job
people stare, we're taking up time.
Mama, wouldn't you like new glasses?
Forty years ago, Trapp Opticians in Bronxville:
you tried on frames one after another,
chose tortoiseshell chased with gold
instead of the commonplace
cat's eyes with rhinestones,
My patients notice what I wear, you said,
bifocals for looking down at a chart,
then up through uncorrected lens
at the woman sitting beside your desk
while you blended empathy and advice,
tore a scrip from the pad, passed it
like a recipe across a kitchen table.
Now you hate the touch of strangers.
I pick up the nearest frames, prop them on your nose–
I don't want them. Stop, you're hurting me!
Your hands flail trying to pull them off
and when I hold a mirror to your face
you shout in horror – Who's that? Who's that?

Acknowledgments

The poet is a Professor of English at Caldwell College. Her mother was a TB specialist in New York in the early 1940s. “When I learned that CHEST publishes poetry, I had to send this poem. She is now 94 1/2 and in frail health.”

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.


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