Poetry, Prosetry

Heavy Breathing – Iman Messado

My siblings and I have the habit of breathing heavily.

We inhale the dirt, the foliage, the pebbles in the moor with a single exhale,

(never mind the pesky case of asthma that we all seem to share)

and exhale the North wind, the starry night and the cloudless summer sky.

Our lungs must take up at least 83% of our bodies,

stratocumulus clouds and bunches of hydrangeas were pressed up against

our tracheas and primary bronchi.

When my sister speaks,

it’s with rays of sunshine peeking between her teeth.

She tends to talk rather loudly,

but I attribute that to her trying to be heard over the chirping of North African black birds.

Her knees are as knobby as a giraffe’s and her eyes are as clear as a doe’s.

However, she walks with the gait of a lioness,

and would rather inhale your fear then exhale defeat.

I have two brothers,

both are thin and gangly with limbs like birch wood branches or

a new born gazelle with awkward limbs and an ambition that could rival

that of a bird learning to master the air underneath its wings.

The older one breathes slowly and deeply.

He would inhale a scarab beetle as carefully as he would a baleen whale.

His exhales would spread across West African deserts and European tundras,

kissing nightingales and billy goats to sleep.

He doesn’t know of frantic cries nor hyperventilating,

his lungs are made of the same stuff as the mountains in South America.

The younger one is reminiscent of a rabbit,

young and small and rapid.

He breathes in lilypads and peonies and sparks of ember.

He breathes in harried words and furrowed brows and nervous feet.

He breathes in flicking tails and hurricanes and lightning bolts.

He exhales the rushing waves of the Pacific ocean.

My lungs are weak and I can only breathe in as much as I can imagine.

Sometimes, my mind is too large for my lungs.

I’ve got daisies and marshes and valleys and wombats and thunderstorms in mind.

I’m ready to exhale Atlantis, Paradise lost and the Second Coming.

Let me a breathe a little heavier.

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