Your lungs were always
too small for your life.

You wanted to breathe in
more air than you could,
made yourself red faced sick
trying to hold it in,
to store it, like childhood optimism,
stubborn and defiant against
scientific fact.

Sometimes you coughed for days,
and when you were bent double,
those strange keh keh sounds
erupting from your chest,
it sounded like there was
an animal inside you,
trying to claw its way out.

You said
that there was.
You said
it was you.

Alexis Lateef (Western Australia)
First published in Creatrix

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