A Morning Car Ride
The quick passage of oxygen molecules
across alveoli walls.
An audible exhaust of carbon dioxide.
The soft and thoughtless contraction of organs,
necessary to life.
A simple autonomic function.
“Why are you breathing like that, so heavy?
What’s wrong with you?”
I’m nervous, like a rabbit that has been chased.
I’m nervous, in an enclosed space, strapped in,
moving seventy miles an hour.
We are passing cars;
they are not passing us.
“What are you so worked up about already?”
I no longer try to hide my breath.
I breathe in and out.
“Can you go one day without anxiety?
Jesus, how do you function?”
We change lanes around other cars;
they do not change lanes around us.
Still speeding, still strapped in,
still moving seventy miles an hour.
Still feeling like a worn out little bunny,
backed into a corner, heart palpitating.
I cannot breathe without comment,
nor can I sleep without fear.
“I wasn’t aware of my breathing,
until you brought it up.”
I curl up my toes, clench, and release.
I hold back my tears.
I slow my breathing.