hyperventilating is almost like meditation

 by Ruth Baumann

By the time winter falls, you hope the children have forgotten the angles of your face. You don’t send the little one a birthday card. Guilt works like a roadmap where all the cities are sleep or less-sleep. & The car I’m driving is on fire, you’d like to say, but that’d be dramatic, that’d be hyperbole, & aren’t you too old for that? You’re too old for something. You become an origami version of yourself. Loneliness isn’t cured by recognizing loneliness, you know, but you know it in that vague sense where you’re totally open to it being false. If you live in metaphor, you might as well die in metaphor. The moon refuses to take your midnight calls: there is no reward for not softening into the arms of men you don’t care about, its answering machine says on Monday. Tuesday, god owes you nothing. Wednesday, you throw all the phones into the Mississippi & pray for ice, but this isn’t the sort of life where things get smoothed over, & you know that, damn it you knew that too, you knew that like you know how to stop breathing in the middle of the morning with the sun bleaching your flesh like a bone: but you always start again, it’s like you’re made of lungs.


Ruth Baumann is an MFA student at the University of Memphis, & Poetry Editor of The Pinch. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Birdfeast, Ilk, Permafrost, Superstition Review, Thrush Poetry Journal, & a few others listed at www.ruthbaumann.wordpress.com.