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Breath O Time I

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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

and delight,

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.

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