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Pectoriloquy |

Last mirror in the house FREE TO VIEW

Sean Maxim Lause
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “I wrote this poem while revising my section on Death and Dying in the course I teach in Medical Ethics. I teach courses in Shakespeare, Literature and the Holocaust, and Medical Ethics at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. My poems have appeared in The Minnesota Review, Atlanta Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Beloit Poetry Journal, European Judaism, Alaska Quarterly and Poetry International.”

Editor’s note for authors of submissions to Pectoriloquy: Poems should not exceed 350 words, should not have been previously published, and should be related to concerns of physicians and medicine. First submissions to the Pectoriloquy Section should be submitted via e-mail to poetrychest@aol.com. Authors of accepted poems will be asked to submit the final version to CHEST Manuscript Central.

Michael Zack, MD, FCCP

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


Chest. 2015;148(5):1362. doi:10.1378/chest.15-1264
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Death comes, sometimes,
like a merry-go-round,
turning with just the drum
thrumming one-one-one,
with a single lonely rider
round and round, on the same
hysterical horse winding round,
the same lonely rider staring
at you, only you, with
one finger pressed to his lips.
But more often than not
there’s free admission,
and death is only
that stupid bald guy
with the scales and
a face like a closed fist,
trying like all sweaty hell
to guess your weight
as it goes down and down
like cotton candy.
But always there is the funhouse,
that is never any fun, riddled
with mirrors and minotaurs,
as you watch yourself turning
into stranger after stranger,
head on the ceiling, hands on the floor,
and you cannot make yourself believe
the whispers behind that last mirror
that reflects what it cannot see.


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