Monday, April 12, 2021

first breath

As soon as she is born - she, 
he - the moment the newborn breathes
for the first time, taking, from the general
supply, some air, pulling it down
half her length, into the base of the
lobe which had first existed as a mattery
idea, and then had become the folded
lung, which lay in blue wait;
as soon as the sky
is drawn in, like a
petal expanding, in fast motion,
opening into the new being -
oxygen, where it had never been,
taking the neonate's bluish shade
back into the empyrean;
as soon as she's taken the good of one breath, 
and given back the rest - look,
she is dying. I mean she is living - for a time,
maybe ninety years - but she
is on her way, now, to that ending.
She had never died at all, until now,
never before been offered the human work.

Sharon Olds
Photo:  Peter Bowers
with thanks Love is a Place