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Pectoriloquy |

The Autumn Father FREE TO VIEW

Peter Huggins, MFA
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: Peter Huggins, MFA, English Department, 9030 Haley, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849-5203; e-mail: huggipm@auburn.edu


Editor's Note: Peter Huggins teaches in the English Department at Auburn University. His father, a biochemist and dean, was a medical educator, but when he had bypass surgery, “he became rather ornery as a patient. The poem is a kind of homage to him.”

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP

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

Editor's note for authors of submissions to Pectoriloquy: Poems should not exceed 350 words, should not have been previously published, and should relate to concerns of physicians and medicine. First submission 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.


© 2009 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2009;136(2):644. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0206
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Published online

I couldn't talk to him,
Or rather he couldn't talk to me.
He was bound to tubes and wires
In the ICU and had no phone.
Distance separated us
As it always had and I communicated
With him through my mother
And sisters. He said
He didn't want
The women ganging up on him.
He was going to get dressed and go
To Foster's for fried chicken,
Blockage in his heart or not.
He was not a good patient and tried
To get up, my mother said,
Until the sedative calmed him.
He'd always been restless,
A doer, active with his hands
And mind, the fighter pilot
Who put his faith in skill
And training, not in luck.
Soon, all that would be over,
And he'd go home.
The tubes and wires would fall
Off him like leaves and then,
When he was bare as the hickory
In my neighbor's backyard,
We'd be able to talk.


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