It isn’t the wear and tear of getting older

even though it began over years and not

days when I was still hiking mountains.

Along with the occasional fire and stiffness

in my knees and hips and neck I noticed that

I could no longer breathe deep during meditation

so I abandoned meditation out of frustration

gradually, and thought no more of it until that

sunny Thursday I ascended Cardigan.

My friend ran when the summit was in sight

and I followed until I felt the tightness,

my lungs pushing against immoveable ribs.

I could not move I could not scream I

could not make a sound I could only

slap my chest universal sign for lack of air.


-published in Vol. 1 No.4 of Clamantis:  The MALS Journal