156 Readings | 1 Rating

The Stars In Our Lungs

There is a monster in my chest, punching

My throat, growling into the wet pillow.

I stuff a towel under the bathroom door,

Turn the water so hot it burns my hips.

My final position is fetal, on the floor

Of the tub, close to the brown streak above the drain,

And down between the quiet porcelain walls.


When I come back to bed

I smell your sickness, too, a different

Flora than mine, and it disgusts me.

When my coughing stops, I wonder if I am dead.

It’s the absence of pain that makes me nervous.


So I stay awake. Do things the living do.

I watch a show on Malaysia. The host

Is a blonde woman stuffed into a magenta

Tank top. She looks like a vase.

A chef stuffs dim sum into the mouth

Of a white man from New Zealand.

Later there is a shot of her making dim sum

For three thousand people, her fingers

Turning lobes of dough into order.


I think the Nyquil has done something to my brain.

Blue skies at night. Stars in my lungs.

I am hyper focused. I zoom in on the woman’s hands,

Memorizing the pinch and pull. I see that she

Is simply folding, like an accordion. 


Maybe all things I once thought complicated, are simple.

I will turn 39 on Sunday. Someday I will die.

I might die coughing on a white bed. I might die in the shower.

Or maybe in a sexier way, like on a motorcycle in Malaysia. 


The blond woman sits on the floor of a hut

Up in the trees. The family feeds her a tapioca root,

Scraped out with a bamboo blade. She takes a bite. She frowns.

I am so grateful to these people, she says,

And the camera pans away

Before you really see her cry.


Posted 03/27/17
Comments (2)
Would you like to leave a comment on this profile? Join Ink Node for a free account, or sign in if you are already a member.
Hey, thanks, Tyler! I'm real glad it triggered some synesthesia.
03/28/17 4:50pm
I can see the color of this poem and feel the alone.
03/27/17 10:30pm