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Pectoriloquy |

I Regret to Inform You FREE TO VIEW

Brandel France de Bravo, MPH, MFA
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note: Ms France de Bravo wrote, “I have a Master’s in Public Health and in Fine Arts in creative writing. By day I work at a health non-profit that educates the public about, and helps shape policy on, cancer prevention and treatment, and by night (and weekends) I write poetry. My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and my two lives experienced “spillover.” This poem touches on my experience caring for my mother. She is now doing in-home hospice care.”

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


Chest. 2012;142(1):260. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2375
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Published online

I regret knowing, the way it changes
everything and nothing. I regret
cell death and its absence. I regret I am
the person you think I am. I regret
the days turned years waiting
and the luminous arriving
always eclipsed. I regret having
no sense of humor, feeling like Haiti
when I’m Liechtenstein, just as tiny but,
thanks for asking, fine. I regret
showing you what I am unable to see,
my wattled profile, baldly appraising gaze.
I regret leaving the back door open
and I regret closing it. I regret the odor
of obligation, being the small hair
that will not budge and the tongue
that must protest it. I regret
the tumor’s intelligence, the way
it dodges the needle, pretends
to swallow poison. I regret this broken
mask and I regret your looking.
I regret waiting until now
to wait on you, not anointing your feet
with oil sooner. I regret the raspberries
I failed to feed you with a spoon.
I regret that after our meal
I will be left to clear the table.


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