These Lungs

Holkham National Reserve, UK

A poem written during the pandemic

They keep saying, this won’t last forever,

But the four walls that I inhabit now mark the four corners of my soul. 

Entrapment is at once physical, as it is mental. 

I feel as though I have not exhaled since March,

And yet my lungs have not ruptured. 

These lungs have soared on mountain tops, sharing the eagle’s air. 

These lungs have faltered when you were pushed down, 

                                                                                         down,

                                                                                                   down,

to the depths of the local pool in harmless, childish play.

You should know: 

I reached the surface, 

I inhaled life into limp legs, 

taught myself how to breathe again, 

how to live again. 

When running became the only option, I ran my first 10,000 metres.

When reading became the only option, I lived in my imagination.

When breathing is the only option, we must choose life.

Life is different now, but so am I.

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