Published on Academy of American Poets (

Breathe. As in. (shadow)

. As in what if
the shadow is gold
en? Breathe. As in
hale assuming
exhale. Imagine
that.      As in first
person singular. Homonym
:eye. As in subject. As
in centeroftheworld as in
mundane. The opposite of spectacle
spectacular. This is just us
breathing. Imagine
normalized respite
gold in shadows
. You have the
right to breathe and remain
. Imagine


Copyright © 2019 by Rosamond S. King. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 5, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I often revise poems using my ‘shadow poems’ exercise detailed in the book Spellbound: The Art of Teaching Poetry. I take a poem, and then rewrite it in different ways or contexts: the poem’s shadow, the poem with mustard, the poem divorced, etc. This poem is the ‘shadow’ of ‘Breathe. As in.’, a response to Eric Garner’s murder by police, which was originally published in Transition magazine. Both poems are part of my ‘Living in the Abattoir’ series, set in a speculative space similar to the USA, in which people of color live in an abattoir (slaughterhouse) in which they are both workers and meat. The poems address how under difficult circumstances people pursue both survival and joy.”
Rosamond S. King


Rosamond S. King

Rosamond S. King is an African American, queer, female poet and the author of All the Rage (Nightboat, 2021) and Rock | Salt | Stone (Nightboat Books, 2017), winner of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Poetry.

Date Published: 2019-06-05

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