Pectoriloquy |


Lois Fay Read, MAT
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Editor’s Note:Lois Read, retired art teacher and painter turned poet, has produced three chapbooks of poems with watercolors and two collections of poetry. She lives in Connecticut and in the winter San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

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

Chest. 2014;146(5):1420. doi:10.1378/chest.14-0342
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What is there to do
sitting on the paper-covered leather slab
wearing a chic green smock
with velcro closings at the back
what is there to do
but study all those charts
charts of body parts
posted on the wall, note
the intricate little sculpture
that is each human vertabra
fitting into the socket of
the next in line.
Depending on how long the wait
you may memorize
cervical (seven), thoracic (twelve), lumbar (five),
the five fused bones of the sacrum
note that the larger lumbar
carry more weight
have forward and lateral flex, reflect
on how your cervical vertabrae
don't flex much at all any more.
Or you may imagine
you see a seahorse
there on the wall before you
darting and diving, inviting
you leap off your leather perch,
plunge into the sea, become a mermaid
riding sidesaddle on her steed
before the doctor comes.




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