by Lorna Johnson
This is about the way things breathe
in my absence. About the sound
of things breathing that are supposed to be
silent. About the way I can almost catch
a chair filling with air, a wooden spoon
left near an open window, opening its small mouth.
Mouth the secret of these still things who
breathe in, out,
spoon the air from window ledges,
sound like tambourines or flames crackling.
Catch something breathing.
Be still. The clock advances like a
mouth speaking strict lines.
Catch the sound of tense lips that cannot open to
breathe (even the
sound of death can soothe. The chair. The
spoon.) Certain among us are beyond this fear, and simply
spoon air into invisible lungs.
Be still, and know that I am
sound. That you are
Catch the same breath leaving.
Catch god taking his air with a
spoon. What gods eat we cannot even
breathe, let alone
be. And still my
mouth waters, thinking of the
sound of spatulas, the
sound of saucepans when they
catch a ray of air, open a small
mouth to it,
spoon it in. When I enter, they will of course
be silent. But they will still
In my kitchen, it is the things who breathe. Though I cannot catch
them at it, I think I would like the sound. Just now, a spoon
shifted in a drawer. Trying to be quiet, opening its mouth.