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Pectoriloquy |

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Brandel France de Bravo, MPH, MFA
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Editor’s Note: The poet writes, “I am a poet with a Master’s in Public Health whose mother has stage 4 lung cancer.”

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


© 2012 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2012;141(6):1634. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2402
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I’ve been in and out of stores
shopping for a metaphor
but can’t find what I’m looking for.
You say: My joints hurt.
I say: You need a new roof.
You say: I can’t swallow.
I say: You’re behind on your payments.
You say: I’m out of breath.
I say: the Bank wants it back.
You say: I can’t feel my toes.
I say: Let’s fill the john
with cement mix
and storm out to the applause
of the half-hinged screen door.
It turns out foreclosure
wasn’t what I wanted.
The customer is always.
With a credit to my account
I’m driving on an eight-lane highway,
faster than the speed limit,
semi’s like linebackers on either side.
You say: My joints hurt.
I say: None of the stations are coming in.
You say: I can’t swallow.
I say: Adjust the sun visor.
You say: I’m out of breath.
I say: We’ll look for a rest stop.
You say: I can’t feel my toes.
I say: Something’s trying to pass us.
We both can sense it:
how it will overtake us
once it leaves the blind spot.


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