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Pectoriloquy |

Exam Room FREE TO VIEW

Paul Rousseau, MD
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note:The author writes, “This poem came about from watching physicians' interactions with patients in the exam room over the years. I am a palliative care physician, but enjoy writing essays and occasionally dabbling in poetry.”

Winston Salem, NC


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


Chest. 2016;150(1):247. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.01.030
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Published online

    “Undress” he said, and I did,
    for a stranger, can you imagine,
    intimacy and all exposed,
    goose bumps and
    nipples taut.
    a listen to the heart, a tap on the knee,
    a push on the stomach, and he’s done.
    “Now you can get dressed.”
    five minutes, five and a half at most.
    i count pills in my pillbox longer than that.
    “You’ll be fine” he says,
    “just a touch of this and that.”
    a fleapit of a relationship, this is…but just a touch, mind you.
    even so, when he opened the door,
    I thanked him.


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