Pectoriloquy |

A Fish Out Of Water FREE TO VIEW

Clara B. Jones, PhD
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “I am an asthmatic, and my disorder was particularly severe in childhood when I was hospitalized several times. My poem reflects my memories of that time, including, what seemed to be near-death events.” Clara B. Jones is a retired university professor who specialized in Animal Behavior, conducting fieldwork in Latin America. Her guiding principles are intentional living and restraint without craving.

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Chest. 2015;148(5):1361. doi:10.1378/chest.15-1200
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I am no stranger to the fear of death
   thrust onto fossil reefs off San Andrés
   lost in a forest on Osa
   sucked into waters off Puntarenas
   pierced by a black palm in Belize
   broadsided on Bloomfield Avenue
or to little girls immortalized in grief
   Wordsworth humanized
   Darwin pathologized
      my grandfather spurning God.
I was no stranger to my mother's manic breath
smearing my chest with VapoRub®
beckoning my allergist to a home visit
   Tedral® calming asthmatic symptoms
   a six-year-old's body limp as waning daffodils
      helpless as hares pursued by house cats
      hopeless as fishermen waiting for sturgeon's return
   stethoscope echoing heaves too shallow for life-support
   a non-believer praying for a miracle
      in her child's room
   where chameleons changed color
   where canaries preened
   where curtains were closed to sounds of cars and cardinals.




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