280. Starting Up

I know this:
It’s panic,
Thought Louise. It’s
Rising in my throat like
Mercury, one hundred ten
Degrees, one hundred twenty,
Bust the bulb….
Riah’s breath was shaky,

“You’re not strangling.”
Now Louise’s voice
Arose, uncalled.
You’re not strangling.”
She raised Riah’s head
To face her. “But it
Feels like that,
It does–
Or drowning,
Thrashing under water,
Can’t get air?

“I know what that’s like.
And it feels lousy.”
Louise waited.
Breath by breath,
The gasping rhythm
Steadied, slowed. Louise
Slumped, shoulders aching.

“If you don’t mind,
I’ll talk.”
No word. No blink.
“So if you feel okay,
You want to sleep,
You drift on off.
You don’t mind me”–

She shook her finger.
“Otherwise, you
Listen. And I mean
Especially if you get
Confused, or airpipe
Getting tight….
I won’t have none of that,
You sink away.
The worse you be,
You listen, or I’ll
Whip you. I’m not
Talking for my health.
You damn attend.
If I say nonsense,
You still listen–
Think of me as a Victrola–
To the sound.”

Louise sat back.
“First thing: you’re not
Strangling. Not right now.
Your chest is blocked,
This room’s a chunk of dirt,
Or so it seems. But–”
She bent down–
“We breathe
What we can’t see.
I’m saying–
Look around.”
She canvassed everywhere.

“Looks deceive.
This room, it’s
Filled with air.”

2 Responses to “280. Starting Up”

  1. Grad Says:

    “We breathe what we can’t see.” Loved that. A kind of faith – belief in something we can’t see, and yet we know it’s there.

  2. sshaver Says:

    See you on the Welcome Page!

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