Breathe

I breathe in
through my nose
out my mouth
Sometimes my chest fills up,
my shoulders raise high
the muscles of my back tense
Sometimes my belly fills deep,
the air inside a balloon
skimming down from the back of my throat
I take a breath
but sometimes
it takes me
for a ride I didn’t want to go on
the thrills don’t excite me
It grabs me from behind
chains me to the wall
wraps its silk hands around my neck
I breathe in light
of all colors
often teal, white, or lavender
I feel it course through my limbs
down to fingertips
into my toes
I yawn for rest
but once in a while,
I yawn gasping for oxygen
that’s supposedly there
right in the space where I stand
My mouth opens wide
a gaping hole waiting to be filled
It’s usually easy,
breathing
But sometimes
it takes effort
I stop abruptly in my tracks
aching for a pause
a drink of pure air
Once isn’t enough
the thirst seems insatiable
I breathe in slowly
to calm
to ease
to soothe
Occasionally though
it brings impatience instead
My lungs crave the air
sooner–get it in! they shout
I count to distract
In 1, 2, 3, 4
Out 4, 3, 2, 1
Is it working yet?
My breath is my life
I literally depend on it
It can be dependable
but also
unpredictable.

Photo by Mae Chevrette

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