Pectoriloquy |

Re: My Coathanger Abortion FREE TO VIEW

Mae Olivet, BA
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Editor’s Note: The poet writes, “I’ve fought mental illness with occasional hospitalizations. I remember going into the lounge one night when I couldn’t sleep, and other nonsleepers gathering together there. Later I learned (and unlearned) to feel terrorized by the color red. I have a bachelor of arts degree in English.”

Editor’s note for authors of submissions to Pectoriloquy: Poems should not exceed 350 words, should not have been previously published, and should be related to concerns of physicians and medicine. First submissions to the Pectoriloquy Section should be submitted via e-mail to poetrychest@aol.com. Authors of accepted poems will be asked to submit the final version to CHEST Manuscript Central.

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP

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

Chest. 2013;143(4):1180. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2688
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April 1972, in the loony bin
Dr. Eklund gives me pills
that don’t keep the devil from stalking me.
That don’t keep Lucifer out of my room at night
carrying a dead baby.
I try not to go to bed at all
but sit at the lounge table with others
mostly men with night terrors playing blackjack.
There’s also the lady who grew up in Duluth
making foghorn noises on the sofa.
I don’t mention
I went to Duluth when I was well
taking a train partway and a ferry the rest.
I don’t say I have a terror of the color red
or that Robby drew a picture
of how to use a coathanger.
I’m a spotted skunk
in somebody else’s backyard
my right front paw in the steel leghold
between darkness and morning.




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