A Shared Breath, A Poem By Phoenix B. Meadows

A Shared Breath

By Phoenix B. Meadows
We share a breath,
You
And I.

Lost in a moment of thick time,
In which it doesn’t matter that neither of us knows,
I’m about to blow this thing.

And for a single,
Timeless moment,
I don’t.

And we share a breath.

Then I pull back,
Because yours stinks like the reek of a dying world.

It’s the smell of a thing left out in the car during that hottest week of summer.
When it’s all you can do to drag yourself from that old Chevy LUV,
Whose AC broke the same year your brother gave it to you, because mom finally bought him,
“Something nice enough to have girls in,”
Never mind that you are a girl.

So it’s really no surprise you didn’t remember the half eaten sandwich sitting in the other seat as you clambered out,
Just wanting to escape the oppressive heat.

What is surprising, is I find myself breathing the malodorous perfume of festering wounds that came out the next time the door was opened,
A reeking,
Gagging scent.

Death smell,
Rot stench.

And somehow,
You have hidden it from me,
Until now, when I get close.

I find myself recoiling from it,
From you.

Dead inside.

That’s what it means.

The scent accompanies a soul that has decayed and turned into nothing more than a corpse,
Somehow escaped from the morgue and out to find others to hollow from the stomach out,
Till everything is the shiny blue-black of frostbitten fingertips.
Tainted.

When were you tainted?

How didn’t I see,
From the moment we met,
The blotch on your soul that makes blemishes
Look like butterflies,
And lies look like clever pros,
All the cons lost to the gentle rain that washes and weathers, erasing hard edges till they blend in, and only now begin to poke into the soft places of my skin.

Betrayal,
Tasting like shame,
At never seeing,
Never finding the dark lines inside you,
Until I was close enough to smell them.

Your words come out weighted thick, and full of tricks,
Blinding and deceiving,
Trying to tell me that I am the one wrong.

Wrong for judging your smudged and corrupted soul.

I waver.

Then,
Remember.
There is no light dimmer than yours,
Lost in the burning of others.

And I remember.
That mine is bright and clear,
And I have no reason for indecision or fear.

You blew it,
Not me.

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