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I do not know how to breathe

Stay alive, they say.
Just breathe.
Then I try to inhale slowly,
But these nostrils are filled with so much mucus,
From all the tears I have cried.
And this knotted phlegm in my throat makes it all harder.
Again, I hold on slowly to this little thread of air
Like the gossamer of a diligent spider.
I try to live. But life is a spurner
That clogs my airways with so much bile
That this little air I try to inhale
Feels like stones moving upwards and downwards in my ribs.
Stay alive. I hear it reverberate in my ears.
But how do I live when I do not know how to breathe in this air?

I am Ijeoma Anastasia Ntada. An emerging writer and a bibliophile. My work has appeared in the Ducor Review. I write from Nigeria.

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