The art of tracking breaths

before a year’s clock strikes:

boxed inhales and exhales, even oxygenation, 

in one—

fresh out of studies, a future grows hips


early twenties, a crisp December sunrise


a kindling candle, a new job in Manhattan 


a nest at a turning corner, retrospect, almost

recycled hiccups, cough,

halt, hold, 

out one—

double years in stagnation


yellow wallpaper edges fraying


an expired welcome, a chilled wick


a life in quarters, changeless. 


This art, practiced in a coat closet, 

vintage furs, memories in leather,

study from inherited time, 

embroidered wheezing from an origin world 

where we can handle this tapestry unmasked, 


of two years lost, 

disposed of with our gloves, 

and twenty-five turns

when twenty-three was the last

innovation that was ours. 


This art, embalmed, 

with what we remember of our years: 

an early twenty, December sunrise, 

a bedroom-bound Manhattan job, 

a smoking wick, gust from a turning corner, 

tape to fraying wallpaper, 

a new calendar to cover the scratches.