Pectoriloquy |

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Terry S. Johnson, MFA, MEd, MM
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “I wrote this poem in order to explore how tragedy changes our perceptions about pain, suffering, and life itself.” Terry S. Johnson has explored careers as a newspaper advertising clerk, a library assistant, and a professional harpsichordist before serving as a public school elementary teacher. She earned her M.F.A. in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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(6):1970. doi:10.1378/chest.13-0750
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I hadn’t seen Sam’s parents
      in a decade, our boys
   once childhood friends.
Their worn faces, vellum maps, reveal
      a grueling journey, their son
   drawn through windshield is wheelchair
bound for life. When his parents try
          to sleep, what do they see
    across the curtains of their inner lids?
Clouds in metamorphosis, morphine?
        Rub the membrane
     and the landscape changes. In Latin,
blephera, means eyelid, lashes.
      Laceration. Blood red,
    dawn of their son’s next day
yet also a bright computer screen,
      the keyboard his companion.
   Each letter a cell of communication,
grain of thought. Granule, the short-lived
       brilliant spot on the sun’s
    surface. Blepharoplast, the term
used when the nature of a body
       is uncertain. Delicate nerves,
   fragile bone, inside of an eyelid.
      The color of fate without a name.




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