Pectoriloquy |


Pam Kress-Dunn, MA, MA, MFA
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Editor’s Note: The author writes: “I wrote this poem after my first, abusive, husband died in his sleep of alcoholism. I am a medical librarian at a community hospital in Dubuque, Iowa. Three years ago, I earned my master's in fine arts in poetry writing.”

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

© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians

Chest. 2012;141(2):564. doi:10.1378/chest.11-0326
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Now I know it all.
Now I know your heart’s
imperfections: left anterior
descending coronary artery
fifty percent occluded,
right one nearly as bad.
Aorta: distal, mild.
Those petechial hemorrhages
on the small and large intestines,
they can’t hide from me now.
I know about that benign
cortical cyst on your right kidney,
the bilateral pulmonary edema.
The M.E. noted that your body
was “well-developed, well-nourished,
consistent with the recorded age
of 48,” yet your intestine
was digesting itself: autolysis.
He and I, we know
your secrets. Even though I was
no longer your wife, he told me
on the phone precisely how you died,
before the toxicology reports
were in. O secretive one,
now I know exactly how much
your heart weighed.




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