Having strayed so far from my poetic roots, I am taking a brief writing workshop based on the Amherst Writers and Artists Method. Blogging has given me plenty of practice with the first person essay; but it’s poetry where my heart is. I need some help getting my brain to follow.
The writing “prompt” for the exercise was the word “breathe.”
She does not swim –
afraid to breathe against
the weight of water, afraid
of those breathless wet depths.
But she goes to a sweat lodge
where steamy smoke rises —
thick breath steadily blinding
a clear winter sky.
She lets herself be led into the wet
dark already slick with steam
and sweat, cool water hissing,
Thoughtless with dread
she stumbles out into the cold,
blinded by water and smoke
and a clutch of fear that sends
breath into memory:
— a child’s cry for breath stunted by fever
lungs rattling beneath a tent of steam
thick as smoke, heavy as a depth of sea.
Well, its a start.