Notice breath, my yoga teacher says.
It’s the year of Corona and I take her class
in New Jersey from mu house across state lines,
and what I notice today is the lively unspecificity.
Not notice my breath, or hers, just breath itself
moving unhitched, animating each of us.
One friend with the virus describes
a burning like inhaled chemical fumes.
Another, a pressure like a cheetah
chose her ribcage as a place to rest.
So, yes, these days I notice breath
the way you’d notice a bouquet
on your scarred kitchen table, gathered
bursts so bright at first it’s easy to forget
they’ve been clipped from their roots,
their fading not even all that slow.
Mother’s day, I watched as two teenage girls
sung a hip hop love song to a masked and gloved
woman on her porch. They stayed on the walk
and I on my side of the street,
but when their song ended, the mom, or aunt
or favorite neighbor, crossed the divide,
took those girls in her arms, deciding
the fee of their heat and heartbeats and sweat
was worth daring the beast for once.
Every day, we’re made to weigh like that,
sucking in our breath, letting it out
against paper r cloth,
noting its warmth as we do.
by Ona Gritz
from The Poetry Archive