A Semi-Circle of Vets, Waiting for the Counselor (Eupnea) -Ron Riekki

We breathe.

You can’t hear it.

It’s called eupnea.

The silence of breath.

The sound of lungs

at peace.

Except for Kyle.

His pleural apical scarring.

He spells it plural,

as if the scarring

couldn’t be singular,

but owns the lungs.

And he spells it as scaring

sometimes too,

filling out

the V.A. paperwork

like that,

as if there’s fear

in this eternal

sick call

and, oh, there is.

I know.

I do it too.

I know it too.

And I work

to control

my sounds,

the smoke

decades ago

that came in,

formed a semi-

circle

in my chest

and thoughts,

stayed

forever.

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