Pectoriloquy |

When the Doctor Says What He Has to Say FREE TO VIEW

Dorian Kotsiopoulos
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Editor’s Note: The poet writes, “I live in Massachusetts and work as a technical writer. My poem came about when I imagined the fear of sitting in a doctor’s office and receiving bad news about your health or that of a loved one. I wondered if some sort of negotiation could change the news.”

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

Chest. 2013;143(6):1830. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2211
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Studying his crooked teeth as he talks,
she scrawls notes
in a shorthand she makes up.
The doctor’s eyes are too kind,
though he is ripping away the camouflage
she’d worn like a Communion veil.
She longs to slip between the office blinds
where dusk beckons,
to lie in the night,
to soften into sleep.
She could grab this man by his starched collar,
his cheerful tie,
whisk him into a dark wood,
commit with him a mortal sin
if he would take back what he said.




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