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Our Ways of Breathing

if i'm honest

By Sam Eliza GreenPublished about a year ago 1 min read
Top Story - February 2023
photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

If I'm honest,

most days there's a

lump of clay

on my chest,

and the only way

to breathe

is through eating it.

Not all at once, of course.

It's steady, humble work.

So I brandish

my favorite spoon

and carve,

bite by bite until I'm full

then chew some more

so that my organs

feel like they'll explode.

I used to think the clay

served a greater purpose

like some sort of challenge

to make me a stronger woman.

But I feel it every morning.

No matter how

much I’ve already eaten,

another lump sprouts

over my ribcage,

melting into my skin

so that neither can be

dissected apart.

If I’m honest,

there are almost certainly

seeds of clay

buried deeply

beneath the surface,

soaking in the marrow

of my bones

so that even if,


I shed these

stubborn adornments,

I will never be free

from its control.

I’ve learned to consult

the clay along every journey.

Can we breathe

enough to speak?

Will we be too heavy

by the end of the evening?

How many spoonfuls

are required

for just an hour

of peace?

If I’m honest,

I’ve grown exhausted

from the feasting,

but I know that without it,

the clay will consume me


So I have become loyal

to this endless cycle

of steady, foolish work.

Yet, in my dreams,

I have mastered pottery

and molded every

granule of clay

into spoons that I gave

others so they could eat

and discover their own way

of breathing.

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About the Creator

Sam Eliza Green

Wayward soul, who finds belonging in the eerie and bittersweet. Poetry, short stories, and epics. Stay a while if you're struggling to feel understood. There's a place for you here.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  3. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (17)

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  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    Loved the ways this drifted into different interpretations for me as I read. :) looking forward to reading more from you!

  • Andre The Firstabout a year ago

    I loved this poem because I felt as though my own chest was tight, and it was only at the end that I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders, reminding me to breathe.

  • The Invisible Writerabout a year ago

    Good poem.

  • Bri Craigabout a year ago

    Fantastic work, well worth a top-story honor!

  • Lakshmi Narashimanabout a year ago

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  • Kelly Robertsonabout a year ago

    Such beautiful and powerful imagery. Well done and congrats on a well deserved top story.

  • natasha singhabout a year ago

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  • Holly Pheniabout a year ago

    This is amazing! Im sure I eat clay daily. Thank you for sharing it!

  • saddamhussain4494about a year ago

    , the way we breathe can be influenced by various factors such as our emotions, physical activity level, and medical conditions. In a calm state, our breathing is usually slow and regular. When we're stressed or anxious, our breathing can become shallow and rapid. During physical activity, our breathing rate increases to provide more oxygen to the body. Some medical conditions such as asthma or sleep apnea can also affect our breathing patterns. It's important to pay attention to our breathing and to seek medical attention if we experience any difficulties breathing.

  • Allie Bickertonabout a year ago

    This truly was surreal. Great job here! Congrats! 👏🏻

  • J. R. Loweabout a year ago

    Woahhhh so beautifully written. Love your work

  • Testabout a year ago

    Wow. Just beautiful.

  • Heather Hublerabout a year ago

    I felt this one. So beautifully expressed. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Dean F. Hardyabout a year ago

    2nd poem I've read of yours. Time to subscribe I think. Well done, Sam.

  • LynPabout a year ago

    Thank you for this. I read it more than once and will probably read it again. Sounds like the pain or gain of a parent in the sense of providing direction. Knowing your worth is so important. I appreciate this. I hope you have an awesome day.

  • Samara Simsonabout a year ago

    Love your work. Extremely thoughtful and in-depth writing. Truly impressive :)

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