Pectoriloquy |

Less than Yourself FREE TO VIEW

Virginia Aronson, MS, RDN
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “I’ve published more than a hundred poems in a wide variety of literary journals, my poetry has been performed and has appeared in surprising places including a birding newsletter. ‘Less Than Yourself’ was written after reflecting on the dark side of serving meals in a hospital.”

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

Chest. 2015;147(4):1195. doi:10.1378/chest.14-2489
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Published online

Wind sharpens itself
on the edges
of worn brick walls.
This is personal
space. You
no longer have a say.
Thick sky presses you
above the asphalt
valley to freedom
a hundred feet below
your bed.
The last thing you want to see coming:
     Aide Bearing Plastic Trays.
The number of feet allotted you here:
   Twenty, including your cage.
Unless you cough
or seize.
Doors open for those in crisis.
Through the bars
pale sunlight forms
a branded Y
from skull
to eye
and back.
wrapped in sheets,
staring at nothing.
Black is the new 40.




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