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Pectoriloquy |

MORNING ACCIDENT FREE TO VIEW

Charlotte Otten
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Editor’s Note:The author writes, “Although the accident was a minor one, I couldn't blot out the image of the old man in his car whispering to me that he was on his way to visiting his wife in the hospital and looking for a sign to make sure he was on the right road. What does an English professor do about it but write a poem to discover the real meaning of the accident.”

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

Grand Rapids, MI


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


Chest. 2017;151(1):243. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.07.041
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    An old man’s hands are withering on the wheel,
    his legs are wooden boards that will not bend,

    and I, a car ahead, must stop for a left-turner.
    Softly at first, he glides into me, then a thump,

    my fragile taillight crumbles while his front light shatters.
    I step out in traffic, ready for an encounter,

    but he cannot remove himself from his old Chevy,
    he trembles, breathless, as he rolls his window down

    and whispers,“I was looking for a sign.”
    I sigh. A sign. I, too, am looking for a sign

    that my way into heaven may not be this,
    a shove, crawling in on an old man’s shadow.


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