Pectoriloquy |


Valerie Lawson
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note:The author writes, “This poem was written during the time my partner Michael began taking atorvastatin. The muscle pain was intense and elusive and lead to a series of tests to rule out a variety of causes. The pain became a third presence in our lives, a powerful and unwanted guest we struggled to work around. Like so many families in medical situations, we held on and waited it out.” Valerie Lawson is the Community Program Manager at the Cobscook Community Learning Center in Trescott, Maine. Lawson co-edits Off the Coast literary journal and teaches poetry with her partner Michael Brown at Senior College at the University of Maine in Machias, where she is currently studying Book Arts. Lawson and Brown live on Passamaquoddy Bay and share their home with a couple of retired sled dogs.

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

Chest. 2016;149(5):1345. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2015.09.006
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    Train technology on a labyrinth of ductwork
    and cul de sacs, strain the broth of suggestion.
    We sail under the white flag of Percocet,
    lie on the wrong side of the bed to make room.
    Real and unreal crossover.

    The Minotaur wears a buffalo robe
    and steel-toed boots that double clunk
    on the floor. Bedsprings howl as it wedges
    between us. Coarse hooves paw the comforter,
    ruck the sheets into tangles. Conceived of pain
    and unknown, it torments innocent flesh, demands tribute.

    The Minotaur's ears twitch as fat carrion flies
    land on its sticky muzzle. Picking flesh
    from its teeth, it snorts clouds of fetid breath.
    Finally subdued by feathered darts of narcotic,
    cool hand comes to rest between twisted horns.

    Divinity more palatable than pathology,
    put fear in a back closet, lay a careful hand
    where pain leaves sharp edges beneath the skin.
    The thinnest thread connects frayed edges.
    We will find our way back.




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