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Pectoriloquy |

Judy Collins or Is It Joni Mitchell? FREE TO VIEW

C. A. Polnitsky, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: C. A. Polnitsky, MD, FCCP; e-mail: capolnitsky@cs.com


Editor's Note: The poet, a physician and FCCP, was in the Writing Seminars while a premed student at Johns Hopkins. There he met a cardiologist and poet, who provided further encouragement. He writes: “The pathos and suffering on the faces and postures of ICU visitors are sometimes overwhelming. The helplessness caring for some critically ill patients has often been frustrating. Describing the emotions in verse makes them a bit more tangible and manageable.”

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(3):942. doi:10.1378/chest.09-0244
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judy collins or is it joni mitchell
i can't tell and he probably doesn't know
either one doesn't know why one side
won't work or why his other hand reaches up
continuously in the air grasping, reaching
at the light in the ceiling
the hush humming of critical care
this floor of cool and dim light
new and functional with calendars hung
for time orientation
but small double insulated windows
deep in the wall behind the bed
where light indirectly flows
the rain spattering outside this unpleasantly
warm January gray sky
the mist from his humidified tracheostomy
connector blurring always before his eyes
does he see it or know when we pinch his arm
to check for purposeful response to noxious stimulation
we drilled his skull took off the clot
disconnected the respirator
and expected with the pressure relieved his function
to return and we come by daily staring
into his eyes to find some recognition
with the spring in her sound from a radio
placed by the bed it should be snowing outside
we ought to be he ought to be outside
mr woodbury can you hear me blink your eyes
if you can
move your arm


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