EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE
He rationed his lines of breath,
slowed them down
almost to zero.
It wasn’t so much a conscious action
but he saw it happen,
felt his body caving in – in slow motion.
The phone call about her death
syphoned his lungs,
collapsed his trachea like an accordion,
like a crunched-up car hood in a head-on collision,
and the unexpected news surely shriveled those tiny capillaries
that he had learned about in high school biology,
those minuscule vessels located
in the respiratory system, somewhere,
although he couldn’t quite place them now.
He should have paid attention back then.
A breath came in, uninvited.
Any air, any oxygen that snuck into his body
was a handout from heaven,
an extra minute of life
that he wasn’t sure he wanted.
~ by Cheryl Unruh