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Pectoriloquy |

Heart Weather FREE TO VIEW

Debbra Palmer
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note: Debbra Palmer lives in Portland, Oregon. “I wrote the poem after I witnessed an echocardiogram being performed on my mother. I’d never seen a sonogram of the heart before, and the image was quite stunning. The procedure was part of my mother’s treatment for metastatic breast cancer while she undergoes her fourth year of chemotherapy for stage four bone cancer.”

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;144(2):710. doi:10.1378/chest.13-0196
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Published online

The cardiac sonographer
measured the luminal diameters
of my mother’s heart,
the Doppler ultrasound
transmitting the storm
as it gathered violently there,
then collapsed
like a battered weather balloon
tied up in the branches of her lungs.
“That looks like the hell inside of hell,”
I joked. No laughs.
The technician moved the wand
for a better view of the heart’s chambers.
I kept it up, “Look, a tiny white weatherman
opening and shutting an umbrella. Isn’t that bad luck?”
Nothing.
I gave in and observed
in the impossible quiet,
the silent forecast of the heart,
missing the sounds of wind, thunder and rain.


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