what brief breaths are taken on a cool summer morning.
the long deep lungfuls of air
before swimming the length of the pool
or ocean hall
is an illusionist's trick, a bird flying out of a hat,
a woman sawed in half.
do you love in long breaths, or in short gasps?
in surprise, the air is taken from the lungs,
our sails, deflated, rise up again.
buying a breath, relief
for an afternoon or night,
the addict's infinity game
over and over.
a breath, a length of air
in the lungs,
a length of repose. the length of a bone
washed up on a beach is enough to surprise
children turning the rib over and over
in the small palm
of their hands,
their wind, their breath, their joy
a measure of life for those who watch and love.
air in our bodies
air of our voice,
breath of our song
what hollow hearts and minds have we
what fragile lungs,
our poor time, borrowing, and paying back
with our breath, our long and short,
our now and then.