“Breathing Lesson” by Anna Delury

Anna Delury


It is daybreak
and my husband’s asleep
in a bed next to the one I’ve shared
all night with my son.
My husband’s toes drip
over the end of his bed,
like ripe grapes on a vine.

The baby stirs, cries in his sleep.
I tuck him in close to me,
my breath against his face.
My joints creak like an old wood floor
My chest rises and falls
and my son settles into its steady rhythm
while I try to avoid the sounds
that come from being caught
in one place for too long.

I am desperate for a deep breath.
I want to walk alone
in the green hills behind us
unencumbered by the weight of a child
and a marriage that has already seen its best times.
But I stay here in this bed
with my son next to me
and my husband across from me
taking slow breaths, watching
elephants and monkeys parade around
the walls in the blue light of morning.

from Rattle #9, Summer 1998


Anna Delury: “I write poetry because it gives me a way into what I think and feel.”

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