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Pectoriloquy |

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Simon Perchik
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Editor’s Note:Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.

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


Chest. 2014;146(6):1690. doi:10.1378/chest.14-1389
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Even the dying wince, their stench
makes you gag –you can't ask
must rely on their skin
and its yellowing glaze
with just enough sunlight left
for directions back
–they languish at night
looking for what must be
those tiny rocks mourners leave
as if the dead could still
find refuge in a few simple words
placed near –the dying need this doubt
to go further, not sure why
their eyes once had such power
and now can't open to demand
where to make a boundary line
that's safe once inside
with all those stars, far off
not yet arrived
as still warm dirt and mornings.


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