I don't know how to breathe today. Somehow
my lungs forget their instinct/memory.
Each inspiration is an act of will. Reluctant will: i don’t
know, today, how to breathe in without a press of pain.
I don’t know how to breathe. The laundry looms
in bedroom corners, stinking, faintly sour.
The bathroom sink is rimed in toothpaste, the countertop carpeted
in strands of my long hair, the shower greasy with the unscrubbed buildup of our skin.
Outside my unwashed windows might as well bristle a hedge of thorns,
so thick and silent is the coverlet of dust on every face.
I wrap myself in this detritus, I cocoon myself in stale bedsheets,
inkstainless, I let words flit into my brain, then toss them out
so many papermoths freed.
I cocoon myself
in the stale bedsheets; I teach myself to breathe. Again,
I teach myself to breathe. Next moment,
I teach myself to breathe.