More wheezing than breathing,
like a blood pressure cuff
tightening around my chest.
Shoulders clenched to the neck,
eyes glassy, diaphragm sore,
exhausted from lack of air.

More panic than pain,
being wrung like a rag.
You try relaxing
when your heart drums
too little oxygen
from flaccid lungs.

Pray for that first deep open breath,
that gulp of cool water on a stifling day.


(Yesterday’s Living Poetry Prompt was “Inhale“.)


About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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13 Responses to Asthma

  1. J says:

    Ah… all too familiar!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Tomey says:

    Oh my goodness! That’s what it feels like? WOW!! I am sorry for any suffering from this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JeanMarie says:

    Best description of an asthma attack I’ve read.
    “like a blood pressure cuff
    tightening around my chest.”

    Well done

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jupitergrant says:

    Hope you’re doing okay 💖

    Liked by 1 person

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