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Drawing Breath
Ellaraine Lockie

In bed at midnight I keep the light
after strapping on the masked armor
against sleep apnea
Rise above this rape by air
and into a Stephen King character
Whose problems are worse than an unforgiving
sea storm forcing its way down a windpipe
A long balloon pumped to the point of burst
Over and over an insufficiency
to exhale against the assault
Anxiety a little like death in its aloneness

On the ceiling a crane fly competes
with King's protagonist for my attention
Flits from one glow-painted star to another
A wee astronaut exploring the solar system
with wings that speak louder than written words
I look up its homepage on my laptop

She doesn't wonder which breath will be her last
Doesn't know about her three-day lifespan
Doesn't even feel the need to eat
She knows another need and wants to find him fast
Is willing to search the entire universe
for one quick contribution to perpetuity

I could put a glass over her
and turn her outside right now
Or I could wait for morning
to become the fairy godmother of mating
Reach up and switch off her sun
Find solace in the shine
of the smallest moon and stars
The flickering shadows of a familiar
An angel of mercy who brings
breath like the slack tide

To hear Ellaraine recite the poem:

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