Sometimes my brother decides not to breathe. I yelled at him last Saturday over bread and he
dropped a piece of slightly roasted fish in my cup of water. I can hear the storm outside.
In summer lonely and buzzing I braid yellow shoelaces like friendship bracelets around my
ankles. Feet swelled up like water balloons, rubber acrid when the wind blows.
The air in my bathroom is thick with grated skin, muddy in strips, scattered by huffs of breath
from my nostrils. I look up and see the sky, can hear bells when the wind blows.
I am clutched in a storm at the art museum in Cleveland, wrapped in Roman tapestries, aloft
and unafraid. I can float forever, spin in bare space when the wind blows.
I hold my breath when I run, scuttling, chest stiff. I can’t let go of this sick white heaving breath
like salt on roads in the not-winter not-spring slush, diffused when the wind blows.
I was 12 and scared of becoming wind. I could see the trees bending and trembling and I would
bend and tremble. I don’t need to see air-like-river, I can hear the storm outside.
Rebecca Oet (Solon, Ohio) is the winner of a silver medal in the National Scholastic Writing Awards, the River of Words Youth Poetry Grand Prize, the VOYA Magazine’s Teen Poetry Contest, and the Young Poets Network Short Poems challenge. Her work appears in Constellations, Abstract Magazine, Dunes Review, Columbia College Literary Review, Qwerty Magazine, Silk Road, The McNeese Review, Healing Muse, Tears in the Fence, Forge, and many others.