Time propels her in ticks,
the stitches that slide like Dali's clocks
into a puddle under her ribs—
a bowl that holds this visceral soup.
If she moves, it will slosh and spill.
If she stays, it fills like spring in a pond.
A strange exchange of atmosphere—
her throat chokes its own air.
She counts on syrup and aerosols,
elixir doled out in small spoons.
In a dozen hours—or days—she might
sew her breath without a catch.
Breath feeds the body,
into the lungs, into the blood,
and stays. The body keeps its atmosphere.
The throat clenches, clutches air close,
and she struggles against
the wall of herself. Let it out.
Let it in. The miracle resuming.
How trades are made: oxygen—
a swap through the thinnest membranes—
bonding with blood, keeping
the body pink.
This most elemental of bargains—
we thought we had a deal.