Learning to Breathe

They never taught me to breathe

I just kind of opened my mouth and sucked

No one told me how to best use my nose

I didn’t know to question my lack of smell

The odor must be heavy and long and thick

Or I won’t know it is even there to be smelled

I wonder at the tastes that I have missed

But that’s of minimal concern compared to a gas leak

I did complain about the echo in my ears when I ran

The pressure that lingered like weights on my eardrums

Exertion of physical form left my head in a vibrating cloud

With all the sports I played, an ever present malady

But it was shrugged over by coaches and doctors alike

At 25 years old, a doctor finally had a useful piece of advice

He taught me how to hold my nose closed and blow out

It was offered flippantly, a “didn’t you learn this in preschool”

I am grateful for it, because the pressure abates slightly

I have also become adept at swallowing to pop my drums

But still breath couldn’t get passed an invisible nose wall

Until one month ago when I started yoga with a dear friend

I find myself being taught how to breathe

I like it as much as I like exercising without muscle cramps

It is surprising that I settled for dog-pant grasping gulps

When I could have had sweet seamless oxygen infusions

I think I feel confident enough to buy breathe right strips

And try to breathe through my nose when I sleep

I might even be confident enough to find out that

I really can smell most anything because maybe

I just need to be taught

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