(L)earning Breath

(L)earning Breath
-by Knight Quinn
Appearing in Burdock 15, 2016

fb_img_1470540896545.jpg[breathe]

we learn our first gasp
with a spank,

[breathe]

wailing at the firm hand
to let it sink in,
to give us the words to keep
breathing:

[breathe]

further. more.

[breathe]

these exhaled words
mirror, rel(ease)
us from apneic silences
parenthetically surrounding
being
cal(led) on or
calling after.

[breathe]

more would have be enough.
furt(her) would have filled us,
but instead they impose
a name on us

[breathe]

and give us first n(our)ishment from
mothers’ breastmilk. we
forget breathe;
learn consume.
breath becomes
a thing that lives outside moments;
becomes
baited
in(be)tween.

[breathe]

this is how you come to me:
baited and outside.
fighting to inhale;
frenzied to exhale;
unable to even cry
or beg
well enough to
choose your own name.

[breathe]

you lean in(to
my percussing hand),
but my words
demand that you
arch: furt(her). more.

[breathe]

you remember h(ow)
to breathe,
to y(earn),
to beg:

[breathe]

please, Sir!

[breathe]

we teach each other
anticipation.

[breathe]

we teach each other
our by (h)our truer names.

[breathe]

we teach each other
what (be)tween really means:

[breathe]

rhythmic and unrelenting
like breathing.

[breathe]

 

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