When Breathing is No longer Free by Rachael Clyne

I am not a silent poet

I.M. Eric Garner, I can’t breathe.         

In the city, anyone seen breathing is stopped,
searched for signs of exhalation, breath
is banished, mouths clamped, held face down
until the air no longer needs us.
We save them the trouble of a bullet.

How we long for desert spaces where we
sweep dunes, with furnace mouths,
ruche sand, revive its memories of water,
gather bones, roll them clattering
on our tongues and expel them with a sigh.

Or chilled places where we crystallise rock
and river, white in fractal wonder.
Our outbreath greets morning chill
in flurries, spiralled cloud phrases
to silver the branches.

Deep in forests, our breath slips
down glossy leaves, salivates, slicks
into musky black loam, through gushes
of rain, we pour down roots and spring
back as lianas, vivid flowers.

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