Pectoriloquy |


Dorazio Joseph
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: Joseph Dorazio; e-mail: doraziopoetry@gmail.com

Editor's Note: The author studied anthropology. This poem, he states, was wondering “how humans were able to create such enduring beauty in the 18th century despite the terrible diseases that must have afflicted them.”

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP

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(4):1107. doi:10.1378/chest.08-3027
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She telephones her orthopedist
and is immediately placed in a queue—
the wait to speak with someone,
unlike her mortality, interminable.
She's calmed by the hold music: Mozart's
Piano Concerto No. 21, in C major.
Spellbound, she ponders the myriad ways
her body resembles a musical instrument:
her backbone, the piano's bridge; its taut
steel strings, tendons in need of tuning.
She wonders what Mozart, who died
too young, would think of modern medicine?
What would Mozart make of an MRI?
Would he be surprised? Mozart's patron,
Anton Mesmer, cured invalids using magnets.
In Così fan tutte, magnetic fields
saved Guglielmo and Ferrando from death.
She's lured into a world of musical ideals;
mesmerized, she forgets her pain and grief.
It's the andante now, Elvira's movement,
wellness her tightrope act.
Mozart's score calls for piano solo,
flute, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns,
two trumpets and timpani, strings—such symmetry.
The body, like this great concerto,
more magnificent than the sum of its parts,
its music—too brief.




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