i labor upon exhalation
dub me a city life cynic
whose youth lags long behind
punctuated by the fact
that i remarked last night
upon this coming birthdate
i would be twenty nine
for a second time?

i labor upon inhalation
feeling the accumulation
of fluid pressing
deeply upon these
internal tissues
the torment of inflammation
only serving to
aggravate the issue

i labor but only to breathe
the stench of stillness
coughing unproductively
upon the invasion of toxic air
mixing with my missed intention
to rearrange my circumstance
long before i reached this stage
in my destination

i labor from deep
beneath the diaphragm
digging myself a hole
that it might seem impressive
if i should rise at all
but rise i shall
so swift that i should
sever all ties
serving to bind me
to a rocky solid ground

i want to shatter
and shake this foundation
built to keep me
indentured in someone
else’s service
work this magic word
like a eucalyptus inhaler
bursting hot steam
into each nostril
until the lungs
of this city
are cured of sickness
and sneeze
my breathless body free
from its clutches

i labor to breathe no more
i seek a freer
more magnificent air
than i have ever known
before this time.

is this writing the only cure
for my congestion?