2018 James Wright Prize in Poetry

Breath

by Kathryn Savage
 

My first husband’s mother died before I met him. He used to tell me the story of being asleep in the bedroom of his childhood home and listening to his mother sleep through a baby monitor. In her bedroom, when there were wide pauses between her breaths, in the night, near the end of her life, he always woke up, opened his eyes, and in the dark he wondered if she’d stopped breathing now 
 
                                                                                       or now             and she'd begin again.
 
When our son was born we’d do this too—wait out his breaths. We kept a video monitor in our bedroom and we watched his blurry body roll and twitch and kick off the swaddle and in and out the lungs and open and close the mouth and there he was—marvelous, lifting tiny fist to lips. 


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