Pectoriloquy |

The Onset of Forgetfulness FREE TO VIEW

Herbert Woodward Martin
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Editor’s Note: The poet writes, “This poem comes from my relationship with my mother-in-law and my imagination. We all live and struggle with this disease in Dayton, Ohio.” Mr Martin is a professor of English language and literature at the University of Dayton.

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

Chest. 2012;142(3):807. doi:10.1378/chest.11-2724
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The old woman connects with the dogs she sees trotting by.
They are a remarkable few seen in her daily travels from
venue to venue as when she sees them approaching on a
leash of air. She becomes excited; she is determined to
Enlighten me of this circumstance, this special passing,
as if perhaps, I am about to miss taking my last breath.
The dogs are about as old as she is in human years.
She seems to have little memory for anything else.
I question what seductive moments she has left in her life?
What did the winds in the fury of a tornado announce to her?
What revealing light did the sun enhance her hands with in
untold and amazing possibilities? What inheritance can
her own offspring expect from her in the form of song?
Will light continue to occupy the architecture of her bones?
The old woman stands securely on the battlements of observation.
Beyond the casement of her flesh she wonders if she can
redeem any of the promise her life made to her ancestors
before the Alzheimer of forgetfulness set in?




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