Pectoriloquy |


Alice B. Fogel, MA
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: Alice B. Fogel, MA; e-mail: fogeledson@ecoisp.com

Editor's Note: Alice B. Fogel is a widely published poet. She is a recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and her work has appeared in the Best American Poetry series.

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP

Editor's note for authors of submissions to Pectoriloguy: Poems should not exceed 350 words, should not have been previously published, and should relate to concerns of physicians, patients, or medicine. First submission to the Pectoriloguy Section should be submitted via e-mail to poetrychest@aol.com. Authorsof accepted poems will be asked to submit the final version to CHEST Scholar One Manuscripts.

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

© 2009 American College of Chest Physicians

Chest. 2009;136(6):1698. doi:10.1378/chest.09-1080
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In the recovery room, that wasteland
swelling around each separate room
of anesthesia, I saw swarms of the disfigured,
the only-partially human, the neither
dead nor alive. Abandoned fallacies of selves
desperate in their borrowed beds.
Bough broken, in the bone-
naked light I saw in them their
demon spirits, gruesome, clawed, writhing
like the empty-grinned night-
consumed souls of Bald Mountain
or Hades. Their white eyes bulged
from skulls, their formless shapes suspended
between shrouds of gray stained sheets,
the force of life like a witless bean
still jumping, spasmodic, inside.
I heard the distant thunder of ceiling fans
pushing the sickening air, and over that,
the groans of the dispossessed:
They called Help me, help, cried Mother,
pleaded Is anybody there? I heard
their shocked and shameless moans as feeling
stomped back into organs and limbs
when the luscious numbness of the drugs
wore off. In my strapped paralysis
I wondered if one awful voice was mine.
Each part of my body snapped unwelcomed
into time—cracked and pinned,
bruised and stitched—and I wanted nothing
but to return to the salvation
of oblivion from which I hurtled
so unwillingly toward recovery.




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