A Blessing for Survivors

that’s the first thing
the healing
muse says

the bitter tasteiStock blue flow
the wasting waste,
that is from your brush
with death

the antidote
the anti-venom,
is breath

All the holding
the shortness
the hyper-ventilations
inhaling gasps
the shallow respirations

these mark your
and our deprivation,
not vitality,
not your intended
oxygen allocation

Pay attention
the pathogens of
of harm, of abuse
of making a body
meant to thrive
into brutal refuse

Where it feeds
on distorted,
contorted provisions,
coaxed into
one more morning, one
more warning
of how much
something needs to change.

Too much has been taken
the very ground forsaken
Do not relinquish your oxygen

The ingress and egress
of breath is your path
cobbled together with oceans
of tears
and faced-down fears
and flashes of wincing
encapsulations of years
permanent swatches of how
your, my, our life

With breath
you cultivate home-place
a womb-space
made to hold you
in trust
with your remains
We can be at home
here with the breath
that sustains

let oxygen stitch together our regeneration,
our reunion with sensation,
bare feet walking in overgrown grass
limbs that stretch
beyond violence, beyond past
and find a birthing, pulsing world
at last, at last

Oxygen threads together
resistance, release
floating, easing, ever
into the current of a life
drinking, floating, refusing
the languishing ways
of cruel, jarring,
hopeless, stagnant days

Oxygen can (re)teach
Oxygen can (re)reach
the fragments we must
not relinquish

our breath

Oxygen is your sister
your reflecting pool mirror
your peace-ing together
of before
Your no, Our yes
Our more


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