Breathing in the Dark
by Judith Harway


How unlikely is the body. How predictable,
each breath succeeding breath, the dot-to-dot
of days. At night, it's hard to trust those lines
lead somewhere, lifeline, loveline, veins

of trees bent to the wind; sometimes what isn't
there reveals itself in mist or dust-motes
in between the houses, trees, the daily finity
of life unfolding, and I see the empty space

that fills my lungs. How strange we cannot
choose, our first act and our last a flood
of absence, resonating, like a story
in which no one's name is mine. At night

I listen harder than I should for nothing,
for the body's music spent and blown like smoke.
For music leans on silence. When I close my eyes
I glimpse breath's cadences, the shapeless

shapes of dune, drift, cloud, and I am drawn
to doubt like moth to flame. How can each moment
be so full, so empty? Given half a choice,
I'd understand the world and leave it nothing.






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