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There is More than One Way to Die by Breathing

after Sam Sax's poem 'Objectophile'

by Valerie Sopher

under the weight of fire air

                the sky collapses

ashes caress the porch

                enticing open

hungry mouths of cloth masks

                left for essential workers

unessential I breathe

lingering singed scent of

                left-over air


unessential I stay inside

                waiting for a lost train

instead a frayed platform

                a board of broken numbers

                a carpet bag of torn tickets

before the fires

I would breathe through windows

                thrown open to dreams

the sound of a distant train

                panting on a still night

sniffing broken rails wild-eyed

                for a way home


lemons are dropping from

the backyard tree

                the weight of fire air

in their pretty yellow dresses

                I would take them to parties


you can still remember

                frayed thoughts

what it was like

                a way home


the train licks its burnt paws

on tracks overgrown

                with missed connections


the fire alert system keeps calling

and hanging up

                a frayed platform


maybe the numbers

will click into place

I wonder what to do

                with all the lemons

About the Author

Valerie Sopher is a retired public interest lawyer living in Northern California. She studies poetry at the San Francisco Creative Writing Institute. Nature is her greatest inspiration.

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