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Pectoriloquy |

The Mustard Plaster FREE TO VIEW

Janice Townley Moore
Author and Funding Information

Editor’s Note:The author writes, “My mother, a registered nurse, believed in mustard plasters. Although a dreaded treatment to a child, I file it away now as a good memory of my mother's care for me.” Janice Townley Moore, a native of Atlanta and a retired professor of English, lives in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Young Harris, GA


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


Chest. 2017;151(5):1175. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.11.008
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Published online

    Worse than the nose-pinching dose
    of cod-liver oil, it smelled
    of horse sweat, hot and rank.

    I hear my mother's dance,
    to keep its heat from the oven,
    down the long chilly hall.

    Her high heels on polished wood
    tapped all the way to the back room
    where I shook under extra skins of wool.

    She opened my pink pajamas
    for the yellowy paste
    wrapped in my brother's diaper.

    Watching the clock, I burned,
    yelling at the end, my chest cooked
    scarlet as a chop.

    The phlegm easing from my lungs,
    my mother began to hum
    a music I still hear

    standing over her uneasy bed.


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