Pectoriloquy |


Carol Alexander
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Editor’s Note:The author writes, “I was reflecting on the ease by which today's med students receive a cadaver to practice upon, in contrast with the dark old days in which a student of anatomy might have to resort to grave robbing.”

New York, NY

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

Chest. 2017;151(1):242. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.07.025
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    In darkness we steal bodies in plain grave clothes.
    Freshly dead, eyes membranous, modest;
    it seems almost a crime to snatch a pauper's rest.

    By candlelight we explore their crevices–
    four-chambered heart, leguminous kidney, muddy entrails.

    We will learn all they've eaten, posthumously.

    We whisper, cajole; they stare back furiously,
    knowing they've been tricked. Are silage for our greening field.

    We thought only of the kiss of life

    One draws with the silken feather of a goose
    coils of dank viscera
    while another lifts a lung, imagines a sigh.

    Purple-black blossoms on the anterior skin–
    this love of everlasting, this anoxia.
    All you beauties.

    Within, the roil of internecine gases and salt,
    a great ship splitting at the hull. A quick draft of stale beer
    before we leave them lonely in the dawn.




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