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Alternative Culture Magazine

Breathing Together: Sketches of You and Me



Broth of potato, parsley, cabbage leaf and nettle
is the food I take on this cleansing fast. Slowly
I walk down the driveway of the home Iím leaving
in the cold May air

Words lie piled up like cordwood along the road.
I feel like running past them--or slowing down
to a crawl, feeling my way: forward, always forward,
breathing, just breathing

All the rest is production: the conversion
of energy into matter, the making known.
Baseball scores, tax payments, the local weather:
part of the stew of what happens

I continue my search for the missing
words, the ones that really matter.
To what other enterprise can I bring such wonder?
I rest awhile, to hear your thoughts

At this long table you do
have a place--in my heart I am tempted to say--
and now that itís out of the bag, Iíve told you
I love you

Reader, muse, lover, music, how does it all cohere?
In only moving forward together?
This is too linear. I must get back to the unifying principle:

Are you with me?
I ramble and roam, I warn you.
Loops and whorls digress like verbal fingerprints
Without the FBI to lend a hand.

Youíre on your own, and youíre not.
I aim to feed you what nibblings I can. Meanwhile,
we must go forward. I desire for my sustenance only
your company, your kind thoughts.

Believing in you, I can
believe in myself, can play the tune
to the end without stopping, can begin
another without even thinking.

In your beauty of silver cloud-wool, your promise
of garden glory, I take my measure of life
by the lungful. Breathing together, let us walk now
under these dark firs, into rarer sunshine

tonight, the all-too-forgettable bliss of stars.

© Nowick Gray

2 Stillness and Motion, Me and You

"Breathing Together" appears in revised prose form in the 2014 collection, My Country: Essays and Stories from the Edge of Wilderness.

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