SHELBY LYNN LANARO
★ ★ ★ ★
Breath of Life
I’ve never understood why a body
could drown and then float,
and I’ve never understood how having
a heart could fail someone.
A stranger says to me: God told me to
tell you ‘I’m okay,’ and I’ve never
understood what people mean by God
tells them things. What does it
sound like? Does his voice drip
like cool rain on a hot forehead?
Or does it bubble with vigor
like the hot tub that sent your tachycardic
heart into its final arrhythmia?
I often wonder if it was the scotch,
your heart, or your need to breathe
that killed you. Did it hurt to inhale
the liquor like it was air? Did it help
your heart to surrender your body
to the bubbling jets? When you slipped
beneath the surface, did you gasp
for one last breath of life?
Shelby Lynn Lanaro is a poet by passion and a teacher by trade. A New England native, Shelby received her MFA in 2017 from Southern Connecticut State University, where she now teaches Freshman English and Creative Writing. Shelby’s poems and photographs have appeared in Young Ravens Literary Review, The Wild Word, Verse of Silence, Better Than Starbucks, Gnashing Teeth, and elsewhere.