Of Missing One's Breath

Gary H. Howard

My pain I tried setting aside

Believing that if I held it

Honestly aloft like an offering

To a hungry sparrow seeking

Nourishment in the

Unforgiving depths of winter

I might experience compassion

And the empathy of stars

But it left me no asylum

Or sanctuary or second chances

The abandonment, the emptying out

Held my head beneath water

I felt a drowning, a deluge

That could not be overcome

How I never realized

What your ghost meant

To the chambers of my heart

The vacuum of missing one’s breath

Of counting on air that may or may not

Have ever existed