Saving Breath

To sing, chirp, breathe.

nature animal cute sitting

What do you call a spring without birdsong? Carson wondered and the answer was dying. Without this symphony, sentience itself is suspect. Sing, shriek. Chirp. The people who knew before genocide called what moved here holy wind. All breath, all spirit, all soul. 

It is something, isn’t it, to live when a common descriptor of our common malaise involves the need to get away and breathe. Where is away, then? When everyone’s chest is aching, there is a silent agreement: don’t mention it. Is it true that a wolf can smell a body’s feelings, or is it only fear that scents?

If we were the gods of the people who once listened, we could turn ourselves into wolves and know. Take the flight of raptors, stretching our sights. Assume the bodies of dolphins and realize our depths. We could hear an octopus cry, taste its tears, dance with urchins, and let the lamprey finish our sentences. 

Then we might know breath again, the word meaning life. Meaning, duration of a moment; a short time; a movement of free air. Air, meaning the invisible everywhere, ether of arias, current of hymns.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

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