Pectoriloquy |

China Trading Company FREE TO VIEW

Terry Berger
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “I lived two blocks away from The China Trading Company. I knew the woman who lived there and developed cancer after the birth of her second child. Nothing in modern medicine could save her, not even all the Chinese herbals, unguents, and medications on those sagging shelves. It broke my heart!”

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(5):1356. doi:10.1378/chest.11-1645
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Passing shelves stocked
with tins of shark fin soup
and ground fried fish
I spy shrimp-flavored crackers
and lychee black tea
and carry them
to the cash register.
To the right of it
behind the counter
are glass shelves of Chinese medicine,
rows of bright colored packages
lettered in gold
with names like Yin Chiao tablets for colds,
Po Chai for the stomach
and Tiger Balm for sore muscles.
To the left a photograph hangs,
a portrait of a Chinese woman
not quite forty
wearing watery green silk
with a mandarin collar
beneath a radiant face smiling at life:
Jeannie Tong - the owner of the store -
snatched away from the world
    four years ago
by cells too voracious
to be satisfied by traditional medicines
just an arm’s length away.




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