how come sometimes, when I’m feeling tired, when it’s a grey and rainy sunday afternoon far from the world, removed somehow from every busy friend– how does it happen that holding my breath helps? just like it helps for the hiccups– the only thing that does, face-down into a pillow. and when I’m tired like this, it seems there’s an empty cobwebby spot down at the bottom of my lungs that needs to be filled, a dim pocket that ordinary breathing won’t reach– a part of me that’s been neglected, oxygen-deprived– and then I need to flood it and hold it in until I feel the silent beat that tells me to let go. and I’m better, for now. afternoons like this I need my flannel and the yellow lamplight and this purring cat. as well as deep, concentrated gulps of air.

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