just breathe. | Teen Ink

just breathe.

June 25, 2021
By Anonymous


scents of lavender

whiffs of honey

feel the rise of your lungs

and recall the moment

when you jumped off the swing

and flew like a bird

floating through the air

that now resides in your lungs



stormy clouds

lightning strikes

watch your stomach fall

and relinquish control of that memory,

allowing it to drift away

like wood on the open ocean

or sea glass–

over time, it’ll become

weathered, distorted–

less painful to recall


and again, inhale

sweet vanilla cupcakes

beach rose blossoms

and try to remember

the deeply beautiful scent

of the pure tiger lilies

that you found beside that

playground, sitting on the side

as mother tends to the scrapes–

the blood that piques your interest

but evokes pain and sorrow

because it is your blood

and it hurts

and you don’t know why

but you’re alright, mother says,

and hands you the lily

to inspect carefully

taking your mind away from the pain–

natural dopamine

that you wish you could find again


and again, exhale

the tsunamis inside of you

the tornadoes and hurricanes

that demand to be released

if you don’t release them now

they may take over

and you will lose control

so, release the lily.

let it slip from your grasp again

as you are picked up and carried away–

bandaged up and ready for another swing

but there is no time

and you must breathe again


slowly, now; inhale,

and watch this time

as your skin hugs your bones

and they work as one.

the ribs and the skin,

the collarbone,

the pelvis even plays along and

protrudes outwards slightly

as your organs are overtaken

by air.

watch this time as your toes turn purple

as the lack of oxygen slowly kills you

with every breath.


slowly, now; exhale,

let your stomach expand and

smile with you, not at you,

like usual.

work in harmony rather than dissonance

and sing a duet:

you have a lovely voice

but to sing together,

you must first listen.

listen to your breath,

listen to your stomach and what it needs.


couple your inhalation

with exhalation

and just breathe.





it’s fleeting either way–

listen to yourself.

hear your voice in your breath.

it’s there–

perhaps you’ve never noticed before.


sometimes paying attention is too much.

take some time to relax.

allow yourself that much.


just breathe.

The author's comments:

i have to remind myself to breathe sometimes. it's not that I forget to breathe, but my breaths become shallow and fast, and a good, deep, inhale is startlingly grounding. it's worth a try.

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