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Pectoriloquy |

the ‘might’s’ and ‘maybe’s’ FREE TO VIEW

Paul M. Quinton, PhD
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note:This poem takes inspiration from a new policy effected by the North American Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which excludes any person with cystic fibrosis (except one — who must be invited) from attending its sponsored meetings. The reaction among persons with CF initiated the recently published “Point/Counterpoint Editorials” in CHEST entitled, “Does the Risk of Cross Infection Warrant Exclusion of Adults With Cystic Fibrosis From Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Events?” There is no mention of CF in the poem since it intends to show the overlooked and unintended consequences of those in medicine who judge and act from uncertainties. The author learned that he had CF when in college. Since then, he has lived with the “might’s and maybe’s” for almost 50 years.

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(5):1421. doi:10.1378/chest.14-0624
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Published online

institutional Power
made of your “might’s “ and “maybe’s”
smashed our faces into disease
pushed our heads down
till we could not speak,
and dared not breathe.
you would not hear
 ‘STOP’
and still staged
the unseen Beasts
that ‘might’ infect,
and ‘maybe’ kill.
baldly, you cloaked each ‘Might’
and every ‘Maybe’
in righteous white Robes
to hide the Terror
of what you did not know,
and dared not say
 ‘they are too unlearned to Know;
 to Trust, too slow’
before your Rule
we breathed
every ‘might’, and each ‘maybe’.
we knew them well.
Why now do you scurry so Scared
from each ‘might’, and every ‘maybe’
Why mark us do-not-touch
Why shut us out
Why paint us less than you
protecting your Fears with our Pain.
You smear our faces with dirty disease—
our tears cannot clear the Stains you leave.


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