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Pectoriloquy |

First Rights: Letter to Dr. Kreitman FREE TO VIEW

Mike Maggio
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Editor’s Note:The author writes, “This poem was written while undergoing treatment for hairy cell leukemia at the National Institutes of Health. I was recovering from the effects of chemotherapy. It is for the man who saved my life as well as the lives of countless others.”

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


Chest. 2015;147(2):580. doi:10.1378/chest.14-1872
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Dr. Kreitman:
today is the Jewish New Year.
Today, I received peace greetings
from my comrades in Israel.
Today,
I received the last course
of the first cycle
of my treatment.
Poison for my personal war.
A petition for medical clemency.
Perhaps the metaphor
is not quite accurate.
Perhaps
I shouldn’t compare my life
to the sufferings of thousands.
People die in wars.
Bombs fly.
Busses explode.
Houses get bulldozed.
And me:
I lie here with chemicals
dripping through my veins
snuffing out blood cells
on both sides of the conflict.
But a metaphor is only a metaphor.
And a New Year is just this:
a time to reflect
to renew
to hope.
L’chaim, Dr. Kreitman.
To life:
mine, yours, everyone’s.
May all the wars we render
come to a fruitful end.


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