Pectoriloquy |

Little Pneumonia Poem FREE TO VIEW

Michael Salcman, MD
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Editor’s Note: The poet served as chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland, and president of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore. He is the author of six medical and scientific textbooks and his poetry is widely published. “Little Pneumonia Poem” had its origin two years ago in an extended bout of coughing and chest irritation that lasted more than six weeks.

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

Chest. 2012;142(2):537. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2545
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On antibiotics now
for my presumed mycoplasma
but my chest wall still groans and squeaks
with invisible mice
and small pipes sucking air.
I feel the warranty running out
on my original parts—
WD-40 won’t help the creaks
in my knees or the chill in my heart,
still I’m open to anything
and anyone 24/7
like the neighborhood betting parlor
all day and all night
until I won’t be. What are the odds?




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