Pectoriloquy |


Ronald H. Lands, MD
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Editor’s Note:The author writes, “I wrote this poem out of frustration with some of the things we say to people in an effort to comfort them. Faulkner said that death exists in the mind of the bereaved. The memory isn't always comforting. Hematology/Oncology has been my vocation for more than 30 years. Writing is my avocation. I can't do the one without the other.”

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 topoetrychest@aol.com. Authors of accepted poems will be asked to submit the final version to CHEST Manuscript Central.

—Michael Zack, MD, FCCP

Copyright 2016, American College of Chest Physicians. All Rights Reserved.

Chest. 2016;149(1):279. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2015.06.008
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    The doctor said you were
    an old man's friend,
    like you might bring
    a covered dish and mingle
    in the kitchen with the mourners,
    tiptoe in at the wake,
    shake hands with the preacher,
    sit with the family
    and wipe your hollow eyes
    with the hem of your cape
    when the bugler plays “Taps,”
    then go home, like real friends do.
    But you still sit in his empty chair
    not eating from his plate
    that I don’t set anymore.
    You make me rummage
    through his closet, brush
    his suits, fold his shirts,
    smell the sweat on his hat band,
    dust around his briarwood pipes
    still waiting on his desk,
    dying for a smoke.




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