Everything About Breathing

"First Light" by Eric Breish
“First Light” by Eric Breish

by BJ Best

this morning, the landscape seems barely alive:
a leaf might twitch or a sparrow might shift,
but otherwise, the lake is smooth and pure

as a thigh. by now, you’d think i’d know everything
about breathing, but watch how i choke down a cigarette
with its fish bones of smoke, or how easily

i take some water up the nose. my wife says oxygen
is the most erotic element, so intimate
with our bodies, and the way the ozone flushes

at sunset’s kiss. i like to squeeze her hand, her palm creases
like isobars. but i like even more when we’re asleep,
our breath circulating the air: light and variable,

a forecast for the weather of our dreams: for me,
a hawk rising on a thermal through the ionosphere
and beyond; for her, a field of grass bent by wind,

and we are flying a kite cut from sheet music—
the song of a swallow, an eternal etude of air.

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