Pectoriloquy |

Memorial Day FREE TO VIEW

Jennifer L. Freed
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “This poem came after the mother of my daughter's schoolmate had died. Though it happened a few years ago, it still comes back to me.”

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

Chest. 2015;148(1):295. doi:10.1378/chest.14-3025
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Outside the wide window, the air
is full of birds and buds, of sunlight,
pale green through new leaves.
People gather
in yards, on lawn chairs, around
barbecues. Someone mows a lawn. Someone
is washing a car.
Inside, there are beige
walls, crisp sheets, quick steps
in the hall. There is the need
for oxygen in tubes. There is her
stillness. There is his heart,
He sits
mute, measuring
the precious, perfect rise and fall
of her breath.
Her hand loosens, and she
He needs everything
to stop.
He needs more
He still has to bring himself back
home, take the children
on his lap, find
a way to tell them.




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