top of page

January 24, 2018


When I was a boy my father’s words lingered longer, like a cloud refusing to dissipate.
“No one needs to know our business.” he said. “There’s nothing you need that you don’t
have at home.”
Often I believed him, hoping if I breathed in the haze I would no longer choke.

Instead, I would cough,
I would hack,
I would wheeze,
And I would gag.
Rarely could I ever breathe.

The air never got lighter, instead becoming heavier with each breath.
Sometimes it was hard to tell what was thicker,
The ceaseless fog billowing from his mouth,
Or the phlegm that affectionately clung to my chimney-like lungs.
One day, as the sun shined through the window,
I realized how stale the fog had become as the light distorted the musty house.
I scrambled to open the door but could no longer recognize my fingers,
The backs of my hands lost to the clouds. I began to choke.

As my lungs ejected from my body and came crashing at my feet,
I realized why it was I could never breathe.
My lungs weren't covered in phlegm; but tar.
Thick. Slimy. Black. Tar.

There was something I didn’t have at home,
Something that I had been deprived of.

(Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash)

bottom of page