• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 04
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breathe through my roots

nights of waking amid coal-smoked absence
    of air gasping dark horror mother’s
voice guiding me back to surface where
    corals of plastic lungs grow
on the desks of pulmonologists
    afternoons spent before metal
dragons that spit healing vapours or
    in a body plethysmography diving
bell connected by mic to the outside of
    effortless intake of nitrogen oxygen
carbon dioxide a thing of course unless
    dad tears up when he leaves me
in the Alps for expert strangers to reset
    my faulty pulmonary system
close to the Eagle’s Nest where Hitler owned
    the mountain skies while Special
Children’s Wards dealt those considered weak
    sedatives depressing respiration or
let them starve a slow deliberate death
    meant to appear natural when in
the 1960s German physicians still opposed
    ventilating neonates & the GDR
let wee preemies suffocate or drown –
    at which point in this poem the girl
in my womb kicks hard & hesitates to