A touch of poesy

I — well, the typist — was struck by a bit of dark whimsy due to two events:

1) The trip to DC was wonderful … until the breathing problems started.  Luckily, both inhaler and allergy meds were on-hand so no need for frantic trips to an ER or pharmacy but still … breathed better on the plane than on the ground in DC for the last 2 days, and isn’t THAT saying something?

2) The Consulate’s weekly Poetry Slam had the theme of surgery, medicine and the body.

So, I wrote this. Why a poem? *shrug* Just because it appealed to me.  Blank verse, of course (or is it free verse?).

Signs of the onset of acute bronchial asthma


The quick way is

that you simply, suddenly 

cannot draw breath.


Your ears fill

with the sound of rasping breaths.

Adrenaline floods your bloodstream

along with panic.


And you wonder if 

you’ll ever be able to fill your lungs again.


The slow way,

for those with allergies

or otherwise have their asthma

usually under control.


You notice a muscle

along your collarbone

stretched taut, almost to tearing

but you haven’t done any heavy lifting.


After a while,

you realize how tired you’ve become.

Why are you winded

after just a few blocks?

Perhaps it’s lack of sleep.

(And you haven’t been sleeping well, have you?)


Then you hear the rasping of your own breath.

Why didn’t you put the pieces together before now?

How is it you don’t know your body after all this time.


Stay calm, do not panic.

Do not think of Robert Donat in his prime,

sent to an early grave by asthma.

Fight for breath, but not too hard.


Yes, you wonder if

you’ll ever be able to fill your lungs again.


If you are very good,

and if you take your medications,

you will draw breath …

until the next attack.


When you’re able to breathe again, give thanks …

– Magdalena Kamenev 2009

One thought on “A touch of poesy

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