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Snippet of The Slowdown: 496: a brief meditation of breath

From Audio: 496: a brief meditation on breath

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Tracy K Smith reads "a brief meditation on breath"
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Tracy K Smith reads "a brief meditation on breath"
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Today's poem is a brief meditation on breath by J. Xenia Monteria. I have divers, lungs from holding my breath for so long, I promise you, I am not trying to break a record. Sometimes I just forget to exhale. My shoulders held tightly near my neck. I am a ball of tense living, a tumbleweed with steel toed boots. I can't remember the last time I felt light as dandelion. I can't remember the last time I took the sweetness in and my diaphragm expanded into song. They tell me breathing is everything, meaning if I breathe right, I can live to be ancient. I'll grow a soft, furry tail or be telekinetic, something powerful enough to heal the world. I swear. I thought the last time I think of death with breath was that balmy day in July, when the cops became a raging fire and sucked the breath out of Garner. But yesterday I walked 38 blocks to my father's house with a mask over my nose and mouth, the sweat dripping off my chin on Lee to get caught in fabric and pull up like rain, and I inhaled small spurts of me little particles of my DNA. I took into body my own self and thought I'd die from so much exposure to my own bereavement. They're saying this virus takes your breath away, not like a mother's love or like a good kiss from your lover's soft mouth. But like the police, it can kill you fast or slow. Dealer's choice? A. Paul. They're carrying your body without a casket. They say. It's so contagious, it could be quite breathtaking, so persistent it might as well be breathing down your neck.
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