Pectoriloquy |


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Editor’s Note: The poet writes, “Being fallible in a field with such high stakes, I find self-condemnation comes quickly. Where do I find peace for my mistakes? Not in the words per se, but there is solace on the other side of the feelings; the words help take me there.” He is an anesthesiologist in an academic medical center with a research interest in airway management.

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

Chest. 2013;144(1):354. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2836
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Years later, your ghost wakes the guilt:
Extubated and smiling, one last chat
As we moved you to the bed. You closed your
Eyes, shuddered, and the EKG went flat.
And now we lie in bed with my wife.
I try to ignore you, unable to forget
The shame of what I did and didn’t do.
Stay if you’d like; forgive me, just not yet.




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