learning to breathe

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i drew strength
from the essence of your breath
until it was only your exhalations
that provided the oxygen
with which
to fill my bruised lungs.

hard times had me convinced
i needed a respirator
couldn’t breathe on my own
and so i cherished you
like one does
to that which brings them life
gave up i
in favor of a fractured we
until smiles were distant memories
and hurt
became as dependable
as the rising sun

i remember
how my throat used to feel
the dull ache of tears
constantly swallowed
a brooch fastened too tight
around my neck.
the most memorable gift
you ever gave me

my thief in the night.

the one
who stole my laughter.
my dignity.
crimes only quiet tears would protest.

you silenced my voice
and i allowed it.
asked me to bow
and i bent so low
almost forgot how to stand upright
became so accustomed
to looking down
when my eyes finally met with the mirror
i almost didn’t recognize what i saw

clarity, it seems,
comes when you least expect it
in the wake of missing you
i realize now
that i never truly loved you.
that each time those three words
were let slip past my lips
was a bastardization of
something so beautiful.
i took those words in vain
to convince myself of the only lie
i thought i had left to hold onto.

forgiving you,
in all the forms you have taken through the years,
is not important to me anymore.
because with each breath
my lungs take on their own,
i am forgiving myself.

1 Responses to “learning to breathe”

  1. Blogger earthboy_rod 


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