at this poem’s beginning pneumonia
is the first word suggested
by predictive text. then marathon.
then thank you.
dear shadow-patched and broken lung,
did you know i haven’t written anything
that matters for months?
did you welcome the barbarians
because you knew that at least
would make for some kind of story?
do you understand narrative structure?
was it you who replaced language
with these frequencies of silence?
did you – you strange and strangled flower,
you broken bagpipe – did you intend
a reason to actually slow?
to walk like a bad heart, grateful
for each thump and staggered footfall?
to understand how altitude
trades for oxygen and arrives at blue?
to find the poetry in being swallowed?
to know the earth and how it kisses
with its whole mouth? to swallow saltwater?
to open wide and swallow sea?
to wake up in the morning drowning
in it, bobbing eyes to sky,
swallowing the blue,
kissing with your whole mouth, wheezing pneumonia, marathon,