Like Breath, Like Air by Mari Pack

Oh, for fuck’s sake
when I die, don’t tell them I was full of life
say instead, that I was air
and that I swept through the valley of the damned
in the deadest places of the earth
like a hurricane or a soft breeze;
the details are not important.
If you are feeling generous,
say instead that I was wise, but a half-prophet at best
who wandered, stiff-kneed, under southern Suns
through bruised and ebbing cities
which are just another kind of wasteland.

Remind them of who I was:
like the hot weight of the un-wind in the Negev
where I once drank cool, sweet water in a Bedouin tent
under the cruel eye of a kind Canaanite King
whose gentle, clay hands resemble my father’s.

Tell them that I wanted to die, even when I didn’t
because sometimes I did.

And then forgive me this last weakness
wrought of restless living; but to rest somewhere
the endless soul of a dumb bone graveyard – what bliss!
To slide un-designed through ancient terracotta fingers
with such easy softness, tiny callous particles
warping into glassy waves beneath the shoreline
a thousand little certainties of sand
like breath
like air.

About the author: Mari Pack is a poet, short story writer, and recovering academic from the outskirts of Washington, D.C. She earned her M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 2013, and promptly abandoned the ivory tower to work for a social justice nonprofit in Israel. She loves deserts, tundras, and all other forms of wasteland. Her work has been published in Quail Bell Magazine, Greenpointers, Thought Catalogue, and Art Refurbish, among others. She currently works as copywriter in Brooklyn, and desperately wants a whippet.

Photo by Christine Stoddard.

1 Comment on Like Breath, Like Air by Mari Pack

  1. Wonderful thank you!


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