Breath for Metal

This a story
I’ve kept in soft
orange inside
my steel body. I’ve wanted

to wait until I’ve
cooled to hum, until
my touch wouldn’t burn.

I’ve practiced to gentle 

             not to be odd.   To remember
me a calm line transmitting        not artificial

sugar smile melts a rainy spring I do not want
to feel a tug       you wait again for what’s
             dissolved into scent for this week.


Copyright © 2023 by Ching-In Chen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 5, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

This poem was written as part of a daily practice to consider the breath amidst and against a time of fear and anxiety when our rights and humanity are being denied in many forms. While shut in during the pandemic, I began a practice of breathing as much as possible while sending my words out into the world. I return to the breath in the struggle to feel more spaciousness within my body, to remind myself to stay flexible yet steadfast in the present moment, to unfurl and stretch into whatever the day may bring.”
Ching-In Chen