All morning I’ve been thinking
about the beauty of a breath,
a child’s body breathing
as she falls asleep,
a sweetheart breathing
next to us in bed,
a tree breathing in carbon dioxide
and giving us oxygen
in an ancient, astonishing exchange,
my own lungs giving and receiving
without me having to do anything.
Meanwhile, a radiologist tells me
to take a breath in, hold it, release,
as he scans my chest for cancer.
Meanwhile, in a hospital bed alone,
someone takes her last breath.
Meanwhile, on the cold ground alone,
but with untold others,
George Floyd cries, “I can’t breathe!”
His words, their deaths,
our loss, our failure.
The first struggle humans have
is to breathe,
our next struggle is to breathe
light into darkness–
those who can no longer breathe.
What do we need to take in?
What do we need to let go?
We fall, we rise.
We inhale pain,
we exhale love.
–Susie Rinehart, 06/09/20