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.

Slowly.

Deeply.

“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.

“Finally. Jesus.”

2016

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