Pectoriloquy |

The Patient Who Fell Up the Stairs FREE TO VIEW

Ron Riekki, PhD
Author and Funding Information

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. 2014;146(4):1132-1133. doi:10.1378/chest.14-0360
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Published online

hitting her head
on the ceiling,
getting caught,
in the chandelier,
she is in room 4,
on the top
of the doorway.
When you go in,
please ask her
to remove her shoes;
we don’t need footprints
on the ceiling.
And the man
in room 3
who got thrown
into a demolished vehicle,
straightening the steering wheel
and fixing the windshield,
he had a femoral break
that miraculously
got thrown back
into place,
completely healed.
You can tell him to go home.
There’s things he can fix
in his own kitchen.
We need that room
for the boy
in room 2
who didn’t want to be born
so he crawled back inside
his mother’s womb,
if he could stay there,
pay rent
if needed.
The problem—
at least one of the many—
is that he’s about to turn
and his mother
has swollen up to the size
of two mothers,
having gained
almost two hundred pounds
in the matter of a few moments.
She says she’s hungry,
eating for three.
Her daughter is in there also,
a woman recently divorced.
You’ll find a spare
umbilical cord
in one of the drawers.
If you can,
offer one end
and if they’re open to it
and they take hold,
give a tug,
not sharp,
but enough
so that
her family
can somersault
their way
back home
where everyone
in the E.R.
wants to be
in the first place.




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