Poem | I Hold my Breath

November, 30 2020

I keep calling up Weather to ask
if it’s going to rain, though I’m standing
at the window and can see
the staccato drops already falling.
We were to meet only if the day was fine.
And so I call again, hoping that
whoever’s in charge of the weather
can be made to change their plan.

I hold my breath at every stop light,
and if I don’t breathe before it changes,
I’ll have good luck all day.

I think of a child kneeling beside his bed,
blessing his mother, his father;
then blessing the bicycle, the dog,
the sailboat he solemnly asks for.

At nine my father was told by the rabbi
that if he kissed a crucifix, he’d die.
He made one out of the live branches
of a tenement tree, stripping the greening leaves,
and he kissed it, frightened but refusing
what he’d been told. He lived
to watch me take charge of the weather.

Linda Pastan is the author of 15 books of poetry and a recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement.


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One thought on “Poem | I Hold my Breath

  1. Louise Simons says:

    Linda Pastan is a wonderful, enduring poet. Always surprised and delighted by her work.

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