My breath travels the edges of everything.
It knows the shapes of diffusion and density, agony and ecstasy.
The spaces within me contain it the way a hummingbird contains the moment,
while the lungs and bones tone together then blossom
while the heart unfurls within its nest
while the skin discovers sight and mobility
while the mind tingles with dissolve
while the eyes fertilize the world with tears.
Even without a sound my breath of air makes music.
With it I am Krishna’s flute, song of my father.
I carry the seeds of my father and grandfathers further than myself
before returning to the inhale, then the exhale.
I exist in the center of its comings and goings even when the center is off
and still it cradles me just as when I first was born.
Even with no tools my breath of air creates.
With it I am Earth’s mandala, a shifting kaleidoscope,
a puzzle with no pieces, allowing the unknown to exist.
My mother’s mother’s diaphragm did the same thing,
and mine now still finds new ways to model the world.
I sense the pulse of a sun-warmed stone,
the release of a tree trunk against my back.
There’s only so much of this life I can take in
before I must let it go, but my breath does not let me cling.
The wind gathers strength in branches bare to its power.
My breath gets tossed and alerts me
to the multiplicity of shadows. I can stay or go.
My breath is a nomad on an ever-changing landscape.
It lifts me, places me, locates me here, then over there.
It compasses a way through September’s tall grasses.
It is the wave that finds all water.
Where it goes I follow, where I am it returns.
When I’m not paying attention, I sink, I rise,
while my breath meanders, replies to lovers, unmasks the wanting,
then curls back and embraces me again.
Together, we are wave and body and boat.
There is no alone. I see you night-sailing
in the meadow too.