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Breathing, with difficulty - Eugenia Jacenty

In, out. In, out. Rasping. Like the sound of leaves falling from autumn trees, or childish hands and shreds of tissue paper. These days he couldn't remember the gifts, the cards the talk, He couldn't place himself, cross-legged, Amidst the remnants of whispers of love Curdled, like little, flat worms, at his feet In, out. In, out. He knew something was wrong the day they told him, Could feel the air, short, sharp Scratching at the back of his throat - But he ignored the warning. Couldn't believe That life blood could turn so dark so quick, That it would end with him in here Like this In, out. In, out. He tries it slow, then fast, Tries sipping gulps of this vast ocean Or puffing tanks of cigarette-smoke air Across to each of these four walls - And still he is drowning. He cannot reach equilibrium Cannot change the way his chin rises and falls. Rhythmic. Like his brother's compositions, His sister's Heart; so small, so tender In, out. In, out. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. Panicking now, He takes fists to his neck, Pummelling, panicking, weeping Trying to remember a time when it wasn't like this When air didn't burn down his throat like liquid fire He takes fists to his neck, He wants it to pause, cease. He yells out and cannot hear a reply but he knows they are listening He knows they are there and he needs them to listen He takes fists This is not how it was supposed to be! No, He knows as much. He tells himself it won't end like this it can't He takes In,


"Breathing, with difficulty' was written about the experience of a panic attack; the agonising tormentor of the many of us who suffer from anxiety. Whilst panic attacks vary in nature, a common symptom is an inability to breathe - a choking hysteria which can often be confused for death itself. The poem aims to explore the terror of such a feeling, and the hopeless that comes from the realisation that this terror can manifest itself so physically"

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