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Pectoriloquy |

Lab Coat FREE TO VIEW

Chike Nzerue, MD
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note: The poet writes, “I wrote this poem after I cleaned out my closet and found one of the labcoats I wore during my internship 22 years ago. A flood of emotions of all the times good and bad that this coat served me. This poem is my wink of gratitude for an old ‘friend.’”

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(5):1510. doi:10.1378/chest.12-1465
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Published online

I cherish how you kept me warm
Through that long winter of internship
Gallantly steering me through many a storm
While I, the sponge took on water
Sensing I was slow to acquire
The audacity of a Texas swagger
You stood tall with me on Monday mornings
When hindsight’s sagacity ruled the post-call skies
You were my heart’s cloister from the sting
Of lost labors of love for family and the infirm
Your luster undimmed by stains of cheap hospital coffee
Drank with the zest of communion wine to keep eyelids apart
A love this good I’ve learned must end up ephemeral
For while I grew into you, hair whitened & receding,
You shrank from me a size or two down
That separation a penultimate token of love
Bronzed by time’s dust, you still gleam
Crystal and regal with my closet in your pocket
Pock-marked with tattoos from drug rep pens
And threadbare cuffs that mime: you can do it!


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