So that, holding it so tight, I could not simply
Let go of the breath, and it grasped itself
Like a knot about my chest and caught me in it
And I could not cross a bridge, or through a tunnel,
Or past any lonesome grave but keep it in
As a child might, told to keep it deeper down
For fear of rule-breaking, could not hope to gasp
For fear of gasping, could not save myself
But breathed in, and in, and in.
Heavy-hearted and lightheaded hold,
Released me in a touch. I felt its wide
Release, like breathing out. Like lost control,
And laughter, honest laughter – which after all,
Is the most perfect form of breathlessness.
And smiling in reprieve, I thought, back then:
How could it last, that lasting? For how long
Could I have kept that need for keeping, so?
And wondered that, as we must when breathing in
Prepare to laugh, when things are closely kept
It must be in the hope of letting go.
I occasionally undergo episodes of anxiety which, although acute in the first instance, soon aggregate to a formless, suffocating miasma. It does become quite difficult even to remember to breath: and particularly, to breath out. I find that the most delicious sedatives, those things which truly loosen the hold I keep upon myself, are laughter, my partner, and saccharine pop music. Each to their own, of course.