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Breathing

When one separates from another
And the two find the separation painful
They both must remember
That the pain is like breathing in a race:

Start out together and breathing is easy
There isn’t a better time to breathe
Standing on the tartan, before the race
Him with her and her with him

But then the runners line up
And the onlookers head to the stands
Runners flood with adrenaline
And, at the peak: the gunshot
And the two who were together, now separate

An impotent onlooker
Watches as the other sprints around the bend
Hair flying, glasses skewed
As he wisps off

He glances back- she is waving, cheering,
He turns back ahead
His legs starting to burn
His breath, while adequate, is labored

She looks on, watches, as he runs away from her
Can’t think about anyone else
She cheers and shouts and screams until her throat is soar and she feels light-headed because of it

He is now halfway trough
His eyes burn with sweat
He can barely see her- she is a speck, though distinguishable enough
His breath- inadequate

She sees him tire, and can only will him to go on
She grips the bar, throws the popcorn to the ground!
Shouts his name over and over and over
As he runs the final stretch

He is near, the finish within sight
But
He legs, anchors and the tartan, quicksand
His vision is entirely clouded with hot salty sweat
His body burns, aches, cramps, twists, screams,
Out, out of breath
She sees him clearly now
And he, her
She sees his face change from: agony, to pure, raw, bestial determination
He pulls out of him what he never had before
She stands on the other side of the finish
He sprints toward her
She holds her arms
He runs into her embrace
And together, both take a long, refreshing, breath
Breathing is easy



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